History

Helping people reach their full potential… for 160 years.

Family Services of the Merrimack Valley was established in 1854 as the Lawrence City Mission.  During its first 70 years, the organization was primarily concerned with providing material assistance to newly arrived mill workers in the City of Lawrence.  With the advent of the New Deal and the implementation of federal programs in the 1930’s, the organization shifted its mission to align with the national trend in the field of social work which focused on self-improvement and counseling.  This shift inspired a name change to reflect its new focus, and the City Mission became Family Service Association of Greater Lawrence (FSAGL).

The 1980s brought another significant shift as the organization expanded to provide group programs focused on care and prevention.  Since 1985, the organization has grown from a staff of seven to a staff of 70+ providing over 20 treatment, prevention, and outreach and education programs. In 2013, Family Services adopted a new name… Family Services of the Merrimack Valley, which reflects the growth in the scope and reach of its services over its nearly 160-year history.