Oakland Family Services is the result of several mergers involving four organizations. Its oldest branch was the Michigan Children's Aid Society-Oakland Branch. It was originally founded in 1921 to serve children without homes but later included services to children in their homes.

In 1933, Royal Oak Family Services was founded primarily to provide financial resources to families as a supplement to public resources. This was later called the Family Services Society of Southern Oakland County. In 1946, the Family Service Center for Pontiac, Bloomfield and Birmingham was formed as an outgrowth of services at Christ Church Cranbrook. It was formed to provide more substantive services for families already being served by volunteers through family visiting, giving clothing and supplementary aid.

In 1950, Family Services Society of Southern Oakland County and Family Service Center of Pontiac, Bloomfield and Birmingham merged to become Family Services of Oakland County. This combined agency in turn merged with the Children's Aid Society-Oakland Branch in 1972 to form the present Oakland Family Services. The basic purpose of the agency, as described in the 1980 Statement of Purpose, "is to promote wholesome family, children and community life..."

As early as 1961, a conscious effort was made to provide a family-focused approach to social work.    This value is still held today, although much therapy is conducted with the individual client. We define families as persons, whether living together or apart, related by blood, marriage, adoption or commitment to care for one another.

In January of 1996, Oakland Family Services acquired the Farmington Area Advisory Council, a 25-year-old organization that specialized in providing substance abuse treatment and substance abuse prevention services to residents of Farmington, Farmington Hills and other southwest Oakland County communities.

In its earliest days, and as late as 1954, the agency was funded entirely by voluntary contributions, primarily through United Way. Currently, the United Way support of the agency accounts for approximately 10% of the agency's budget. The remaining revenue is from insurance reimbursement; federal, state, and local government grants and contracts; private foundation grants; and agency fund-raising activities.  Clients may be charged fees on a sliding fee scale based on income level and family size. Oakland Family Services is a provider for several hundred insurance companies.

Before the 1972 merger, three major contracts were developed: 1968 - Oakland County Community Mental Health, for Aftercare clients; 1971 - Oakland County Office of Substance Abuse, for families with a substance abusing member; and 1972 - Blue Cross/Blue Shield, to form an outpatient psychiatric clinic.

In the years after the 1972 merger, other major developments included the following:


Licensed by the Oakland County Department of Social Services to provide adoption services for children. Awarded by the Oakland County Department of Social Services, Protective Services Department, a contract to serve families experiencing or suspected of child abuse. Development of Perinatal Coaching, the first major prevention service. A Volunteer Program was established.

An Employee Assistance Service (EAS) was developed to obtain contracts for service with business and industry.
Contracted with General Motors through Family Service America to provide pre-determination coordination to substance abusing employees and their families.

Expanded Employee Assistance Services by entering into an agreement to market for Family Service America member agencies in the tri-county area. The agency name was changed to Oakland Family Services.

Developed Associated Family Services in Flint - a joint venture with Catholic Social Services of Oakland County to provide Gate-keeping Services.
Purchased the 42,000 sq. ft. building in Pontiac, formerly used as an Elk's Temple. A Development Department was established and a Capital Campaign was launched to support the purchase and renovation of the Pontiac facility.
Obtained a three-year Federal grant from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to develop a program for severely dysfunctional families. The "Family Empowerment" program was designed to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect, develop parenting skills and values, and to assist in providing intensive service by supplementing staff with a core of 100 volunteers.
The newly renovated Pontiac building was occupied. The Family Center on Franklin Boulevard, the administrative offices and some therapy offices, formerly housed in the United Way building on Wayne Street in Pontiac, joined each other in the Pontiac facility.
A second three-year Federal grant was obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services to develop "Partners in Permanency", an innovative approach to provide foster care of children.
Completed the Capital Campaign. Expanded programs required renovation of the lower level of the Pontiac facility, which had been a bowling alley. This provided additional office space, group room space, and two infant/toddler rooms for parent education, supervised visits of parents with children placed in foster care.

A third federal grant was obtained from DHHS, for the CHAMPS program (Children Having and Maintaining Positive Self-Esteem), an intensive mentoring, tutoring program for high-risk youth from substance abusing families. A formal corporate relationship was established with Community Services for the Hearing-Impaired.  The Women's Recovery Program for pregnant, chemically dependent women and their families was funded by a three-year special United Way of Oakland County grant.  Apex (Achieving Pre-School Excellence), a program for at-risk 4 year olds, was funded by the Michigan Department of Education.

Rochester Counseling Associates, a division of Oakland Family Services, was opened to provide mental health and substance abuse treatment for Rochester Hills and surrounding communities. Prevention programs expanded in collaboration with several Oakland County school districts. "Ready...Let's Grow", a program for 18 month to 3-year-old children at risk of developmental delay, was instrumental in establishing school/agency partnerships.
Federal funding was extended to continue the CHAMPS program. There was continued expansion of prevention services via the Fussy Baby project developed in collaboration with William Beaumont Hospital. The Skillman Foundation awarded a grant for the HOPE program to prevent homelessness for women and their children. The Respite Care program used a volunteer-based approach to support families with mentally ill members living in the home.
Space was added to the Pontiac facility and the Waterford office was closed. Renovation of the Berkley facility began. The agency received a 22% increase from the area United Ways to expand existing programs and to support the development of new programs such as Checkpoint Parenting, Father Figures, and the Child and Adolescent Life Skills program. The increase also supported the Therapeutic Nursery program, which was developed from a DeRoy Testamentary Foundation grant. Community Services for the Hearing-Impaired disaffiliated for the purpose of developing a Community Center for Hearing-Impaired Persons.  A new organizational structure was implemented with departments for Behavioral Health, Family Support, Family Preservation and Education reporting to the vice president of Program Operations.
Oakland Family Services acquired the Farmington Area Advisory Council, an agency with two offices that provided substance abuse prevention and treatment to families in the Farmington Hills communities.  OFS offices were networked to ensure real time reporting concerning accounts and activity. Growth in insurance reimbursement through participation as a managed care provider accounted for 39.2% of the total budget. A children's day care center was licensed for services for preschoolers two and a half to five years of age. The agency and its programs were reaccredited until the year 2000.
The agency established the Oakland Family Services Foundation. The agency effected a change in leadership in 1997.
The HIPPY program expanded into the Walled Lake, Birmingham and West Bloomfield School Districts. The Ready…Let’s Grow program was expanded. The Development department was reorganized, and the agency initiated its strategic objective of a Planned Giving Program.
Oakland Family Services was selected as a Leadership organization by the Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan to establish a Planned Giving Program. The agency received a major gift to upgrade its computer technology.
The agency completed its self-study and was re-accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Services for Families and Children, Inc. COA recognized the agency for its exceptional performance and quality service. The Project Recovery Intensive Services for Mothers (PRISM) Program was launched. The program provides case management services and access to support services for substance abusing mothers who have had their children placed in foster care or is at risk of having their children placed in foster care. Its goal is to preserve or reunify the family. The Parents And Children are Entitled to Support (PACES) Program provides an opportunity for a family to receive case management services linking families to valuable community resources to assist them in coping with life’s challenges.
The Board of Directors approved the agency’s updated Strategic Plan for 2001 – 2004. Oakland Family Services proudly dedicated a Pewabic tile donor wall to recognize its top donors over a ten-year period (1995 – 2004). The dedication ceremony allowed the agency to publicly recognize individuals and corporations for their generous contribution.
The agency was awarded a three-year, $1.5M federal grant to expand the PRISM program, and launched the first Hispanic Literacy Program in Oakland County, Even Start, offering literacy activities for parents and their children. In addition, the agency dedicated its 44,000-square-foot facility in Pontiac and the “Harris Center for Children and Families” in honor of Mort and Brigitte Harris for their unwavering support of OFS.
The agency received a three-year, $750,000 federal grant from the Department of Health and Human Services in support of Marijuana and Alcohol Free Youth, a program to help substance-abusing adolescents break their dependency on drugs. An agency-wide web-based client management system was initiated, which increased our capacity for internal and external communication, and laid the foundation to improve client services and reduce overhead costs. The agency became a mentor for the Erikson Institute of Chicago’s new Fussy Baby program and shared our successful model with other organizations across the country.

Oakland Family Services was named the sole provider of outpatient substance abuse treatment services for the U.S District Court’s Probation Office in Oakland County. Our national reputation was enhanced through participation in a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services pilot program for adolescent drug treatment. With the help of United Way, we were able to provide extended-hour childcare services to low-income families. Michigan State University recognized OFS as the “Michigan Outstanding Field Placement Agency” for its graduates.

Re-accredited with COA

The agency expanded treatment opportunities to include support/treatment    groups and transportation for siblings of at-risk youth through a Federal Expansion Grant for Adolescent Substance Abuse Services, served as community leader in developmental delay assessments for infants and toddlers ages birth to three, and provided home-based early childhood education services to the Hispanic community through our Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters program.
Launched a new initiative, Workforce Development, to give people the skills necessary to sustain employment and support their families; awarded contracts to provide a variety of services under the Michigan Prisoner Re-Entry Initiative to help ensure that individuals released from incarceration become contributing members of the community; Recognized by the Michigan Association of Drug Court professionals with the 2006 Honoree of the Year award for the agency’s role in the 47th District Sobriety Court’s efforts on behalf of the residents of the Farmington and Farmington Hills; Awarded a five-year grant from the Department of Health and Human Services to provide education and support services to fathers whose children are experiencing developmental delays/disabilities.

Oakland Family Services, Macomb Family Services and Family Service, Inc. of Detroit and Wayne County, entered into a Memo of Understanding creating the Family Service Alliance  for Southeastern Michigan (Alliance).  The Alliance was created to form a regional response to the behavioral health challenges in the tri-county area.  The agreement provides for consolidation of duplicative business practices, standardized program service delivery processes and regional analysis of the needs of vulnerable families.  Oakland Family Services was named to serve as the fiduciary and the CEO is the Managing Partner.

The Board adopts a new mission statement.  United Way awarded largest single allocation to the Family Service Alliance for Southeast Michigan. The Mission/Money Matrix criteria, used to evaluate continuation and/or program expansion, were expanded to include scale, complexity and efficiency.   A restructure and consolidation was achieved to align with contraction in the economy including the closing of the Farmington Hills office.   Oakland Family Services was awarded two new federal grants.  A three year grant from the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the Department of Health and Human Services worth nearly 1.2 million dollars to fund intensive case management services, skills development and recovery support to substance users who are involved with the criminal justice system and have re-entered or are residing in the community (FOCUS) program.  Through a second grant from SAMHSA, also for three years and worth nearly 1.2 million, Oakland Family Services will provide Older Adult Specialty In-home Services (OASIS).   OASIS will provide counseling for depression and anxiety and link the older adult with needed services.
Re-accredited with COA.  Oakland Family Services is one of the longest accredited organizations in the country.
Selected by Oakland Country Community Mental Health Authority to be one of two providers delivering home and office based mental health services to children with Serious Emotional Disturbances in Oakland County
Oakland Family Services was awarded a second grant for a program call OASIS II to provide mental health and suicide prevention services to older adults in Oakland County.  The agency was also awarded funding for Parents as Teachers from Great Start Oakland.  This school readiness program and abuse and neglect prevention program provides in-home and group support and education for parents of children 2 – 6.  Oakland Family Services received a Brooksie Way grant to purchase play equipment for the Children’s Learning Center.

Oakland Family Services entered into a partnership with Oakland Integrated Health Network to provide integrated health care clinic at its Pontiac site.  The community and clients of Oakland Family Services can access integrated physical and behavioral health services such as mental health and substance abuse services at one location.  Oakland Family Services was awarded a Farm to School grant from Michigan State University to collaborate with farmers to provide fresh fruit and vegetables to the Children’s Learning Center and educate the children and their families.     

Oakland Family Services received funding for three years from the DeRoy Testamentary Foundation  to deliver the Fussy Baby program after traditional funding from the State of Michigan 0 – 3 Prevention funding ended. This program prevents child abuse by promoting parent-child bonding and parenting skills in families with a child aged birth to three who has difficulties with self-regulation, such as inconsolable crying, inability to self-calm, difficulty sleeping, eating, and behavior difficulties.  The funding also fortifies the Children’s Learning Center and the Parents as Teachers program.

The agency adopted a new mission based fundraising model called Benevon.

Oakland Family Services was re-awarded funding by Great Start Oakland for the Parents as Teachers program.  Through this funding, the agency continues to provide parents with skills to engage in positive parent-child interactions and parenting practices, thereby reducing the risk of child abuse, and to promote their child’s educational development.  Oakland Family Services developed an enhanced relationship with the 50th District Court Probation Department when selected to conduct all of their substance abuse assessments.

The Society for Information Management (SIM) awarded Oakland Family Services funding and technical assistance to advance the agency’s use of data in performance metrics and quality improvement.  Microsoft Corporation selected Oakland Family Services as a Community Partner at the opening of its retail store at the Sommerset Collection in Troy.  More than 100 board members, volunteers, staff, friends and family members attended the Grand Opening celebration on June 28th where Oakland Family Services was awarded a $250,000 software donation and $5,000 in computers.  

Oakland Family Services was re-accredited with the Council on Accreditation (COA) and continues to be one of the longest accredited organizations in the country.  The agency held its first Building a Brighter Future Breakfast with great success.  Representative board members and staff, along with Executive Leadership, participated in a strategic planning process culminating in the development of the 2014 – 2017 Strategic Plan.