The Family Tree originated in 1979 through efforts by The Junior League of Lafayette. Believing that cycles can be broken with behavior changes, staff began working with families by offering them tools for parenting through the Community Education Program. The early ’90s brought professional counseling that is affordable and accessible to individuals and families. Throughout the following years and with the support of like-minded organizations, we have been able to add programs that include infant mental health consultation, parenting education to incarcerated parents, child passenger safety, and home-based support services and case management for pregnant women and families with children under the age of two. In October of 2017, we found our home at Tara East Office Building where we have experienced continued growth, program expansion and specialization of services.
2. What would you tell the rest of Acadiana makes you special?
Our programs are very low cost or free of charge to the clientele we serve. We are one of few organizations in the Lafayette and surrounding areas who provide counseling services on an income-based sliding fee scale. We aim to fill mental health gaps in the community by providing a diverse service array in a professional yet affordable manner. This includes specialized mental health services such as parent-child interaction therapy, play therapy, and other therapy targeted towards specific groups of people who otherwise would not be able to afford it. We strive to treat the whole person/family and not just the problem and this is where our other programs provide needed wrap-around services. This is also accomplished through collaboration with other agencies in the community. The old adage of “it takes a village” is just as valid today as it was in past generations. It takes the whole community to come together to support its most fragile populations and we do this through partnerships with other agencies where ultimately the individual and family can accomplish goals and achieve success.
3. What are you most proud of?
We are most proud of the fact that we are still relevant and active in the community after all these years. We will celebrate our 40th birthday in 2019 and it brings us great joy to know that we have been providing affordable yet professional services to individuals and families in our very own community for such a long period of time. We strive to become a pillar in this community and become a household name that is known for helping and healing. After almost 40 years of service, we feel like we are well on our way.
4. Where do you see your business in 10 years? What are your plans for the future?
In addition to the services we provide at our office, we are working towards expanding programming to include community-based services. We realize that it’s not always possible for people to come into the office and as part of our mission to provide services that are accessible, we want to be able to provide needed services to people where they are. We are also expanding programming to include Senior Services. The senior population, as well as the providers who care for seniors, is sorely underserved. We aspire to provide previously unavailable resources and professional services that sufficiently meet their needs. We are looking forward with great excitement to our Aging Summit, which will occur August 25, 2019 at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Student Union. At this summit, we hope to bring awareness to the community of the needs of our senior citizens and develop an ongoing plan involving community partnerships that results in a proactive approach to their care and wellbeing.
5. 1A is “Focused on Forward” – meaning we are taking an active role of improving the community we live in. Our members are Focused on Forward, too! - What does Focused on Forward mean to you? How is your company Focused on Forward?
We are looking at the current mental health issues that face our families and not shying away from the hard topics that many of our community members secretly (or not so secretly) struggle with. We are acknowledging where our community stands and the needs they have, even when the topics are taboo or difficult to talk about. We are finding the gaps in services that can include aging, divorce/separation, parent-child interactions, challenging behaviors of very young children and teenagers, LGBTQ issues, sex, suicide, social media, and bullying, and providing a variety of mental health services to fill those gaps such as Rooted, PCIT, Wise Minds, and Truth, Facts & Lies that specifically address the hard topics that no one else is talking about.