Our History

For more than two decades, we have helped over 10,000 families stay stronger, longer.

The Family Center's four founders (left to right): Jan Hudis, Barbara Draimin, Amy Shire and Ivy Gamble Cobb

The Family Center’s four founders (left to right): Jan Hudis, Barbara Draimin, Amy Shire and Ivy Gamble Cobb. The photo on the left was taken in 1994 at The Family Center’s founding; the right one is from our agency’s 20th Anniversary Gala.

The Family Center was born from the vision of four women who, while working at the NYC Department of Social Services, saw a gap in services pertaining to the needs of families affected by HIV/AIDS.  Little was being done to prepare the children for death, mourning and rebuilding their lives. With these families in mind, The Family Center was founded in 1994 to give children a secure future. By providing comprehensive legal and social services under one umbrella, The Family Center’s mission was to stabilize families and to help them cope with the implications and gravity of their health situation.

A lot has changed since 1994; individuals can now live longer lives with carefully treated HIV/AIDS. The Family Center also realized through research and evaluation that our model of offering comprehensive services strengthens families experiencing other hardships, not just parental illness.  As such, the scope of services offered by our agency has continued to evolve. We now offer a unique combination of social and legal services, including health care and wellness programs, to New Yorkers struggling with a family crisis or loss. Though the conditions of hardship change, we are focused on staying with our client families every step of the way, promoting long-term family stability.

1991 to 1995

  • Robin Hood helps The Family Center acquire 5th floor space at 66 Reade Street in Manhattan
  • Creation of The Family Center as a program of the Medical and Health Research Association of NYC, Inc. (now Public Health Solutions)
  • Ivy Gamble Cobb works with colleagues to found The Buddy Program

1996 to 2000

  • The Family Center is incorporated and receives its independent not-for-profit status
  • The Family Center begins its Consumer Outreach Program which involves clients more directly in agency programming (This group later becomes the Consumer Advisory Committee.)

2001 to 2005

  • Robin Hood Foundation helps The Family Center add play therapy and mirror “observation” rooms
  • The Family Center provides assistance to families facing loss as a result of the World Trade Center attacks
  • Our Brooklyn office opens in Bedford-Stuyvesant
  • The Family Center celebrates 10 years of service

2006 to 2010

2011 to 2015

2016 to 2020

2021 to Present

  • The Family Center celebrates our 30th Anniversary!  Join us on April 11th at Tribeca Rooftop for the 2024 Spring Soiree!