A Message from FSW’s President & CEO, Polly Kerrigan

I am incredibly honored to lead and serve Family Services of Westchester and to continue the work that we have done to advance FSW’s impact throughout Westchester County, NY. When I joined the agency back in 2000, FSW had a budget of $8 million; since then—thanks to our insightful board, our creative and hard-working staff, our dedicated community partners, and the determined efforts of former Presidents Tom Sanders and Susan B. Wayne—we have grown in breadth and depth to our current budget of $25 million.

Building Stronger Community Ties

As President and CEO, I will continue to devote my time and energy to advancing the programs and services that truly make a difference in the lives of the people we serve.

Working with Lisa Copeland, FSW’s Board Chair, and the entire Board of Directors I am committed to continuing to strengthen community ties. I’m also fortunate to know firsthand how much energy and vision our FSW staff brings to crafting their inspired responses to our community’s needs.

Building Resiliency to Combat the Effects of Trauma 

I am especially excited about our use of Trauma Systems Therapy (TST) and our focus on resiliency, which is an individual’s capacity to overcome adverse childhood experiences,  two innovative approaches to mental health that FSW has refined and expanded over the past decade. As many clinicians know, TST is an evidenced-based model for treating children and adolescents who have experienced trauma such as abuse, neglect or the toxic stress associated with poverty.

Focusing on Holistic Care to Reduce Health Care Costs

Our staff has been trained to use the TST approach with children, and we are now applying the model in FSW’s new partial hospital, launched in June 2019 in partnership with St. Joseph’s Medical Center and the Yonkers school district.

The partial hospital’s emphasis on treating children holistically and working with community partners represents an innovative approach to an unmet need, and I am excited to see it flourish for several reasons. In addition to helping children, the model also embodies the latest thinking in mental health and demonstrates the value of partnerships. What’s more, by combining behavioral health treatment with primary care, the project also aims to treat the individual holistically and reduce healthcare costs.

I’m also excited about our efforts to raise public awareness regarding the impact trauma has on our population as well as the capacity of an individual to overcome traumatic events through trauma’s complementary component, resiliency. Building resiliency is a promising mental health strategy with broad applications for a range of issues. In addition to treating trauma and promoting resiliency in children, we can also extend some of the model’s techniques to helping other vulnerable populations such as older adults, veterans, immigrants and the formerly incarcerated.

Turning Toward the Future

While we have seen great initial success, we know that there is still more to be done. As an organization with more than 65 years of history, serving over 30,000 annually, with 50+ programs and services, FSW must always remain focused on the way forward. And it’s all possible with your help.

In these critical times, we must be innovative but resilient in our approaches to meeting the unmet needs of so many of our vulnerable Westchester residents. This is why I will be working closely with our various stakeholders to build and expand FSW’s presence in Westchester County. We know that the mental health and social services sector is radically changing in the ways it delivers services and we must be ready to embrace those changes.

Thank You for Your Support

As we embark on this new journey together, I wanted to assure you that as we move forward, FSW will continue to be a national leader in providing holistic approaches to care. In the coming months, we have several opportunities for you to get involved and participate with us.

Thank you for your support and please feel free to contact me at pkerrigan@fsw.org to share your thoughts and ideas as we continue Making A Difference, Right At Home.

Regards,

 

 

Polly Kerrigan
President and CEO