Family Matters of Greater Washington Celebrates 135 Years as One of the Nation’s Oldest, Nationally-Accredited Social Services Organizations

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#135Years–Family Matters of Greater Washington, one of the nation’s oldest,
nationally-accredited social services organizations, announced today the
launch of their 135th anniversary in providing compassionate
solutions for low-income youth, families and seniors across the Greater
Washington Metropolitan Area.

Founded in 1882 as The Associated Charities, over its 135-year history,
Family Matters has compiled a legacy of firsts and groundbreaking
moments in social services provisions.

“Our legacy of service for an astonishing 135 years is a remarkable
testament to the men and women who founded and sustained this
organization over the past century and more,” noted current President
and CEO Tonya Jackson Smallwood. “To have impacted the lives of hundreds
of thousands of children, families and seniors when so many non-profit
social services organizations fail, is an achievement of unparalleled
success. I am proud and honored to serve at the helm of this
organization and to play a role in charting a course for the next
century and beyond.”

In the year 1882, a group of men and women concerned about the growing
poverty in the nation’s capital embarked on an effort to aid the poor
and less-fortunate. They incorporated as the Associated Charities of the
District of Columbia Annual and set out to promote cooperation among
charities to provide “relief from destitution” and to improve the
condition of the “dependent poor.”

Over the years, they launched a number of new programs which broke new
ground in social services, including:

  • Establishment of the first Christmas Opportunity Fund in 1896, later
    adopted by the U.S. Postal Service, to stimulate the poor to save.
  • Formation of the first Boys Club in 1903.
  • In 1907, they opened the first camp for African-American mothers and
  • Helped write legislation for the 1910 School Attendance law making
    school attendance for children compulsory.
  • In 1934, they pioneered the development of social casework with a
    mental hygiene emphasis, in response to veterans’ issues following the
  • In 1937, they were instrumental in helping draft the first national
    Social Security program.
  • They started the first daycare program for children of working parents
    during World War II.
  • In 1986, they created the first weekend respite program for
    Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers.

“I trust that the experience of the past and the challenge of the
present and future may make for even greater usefulness as you enter
your second half-century,” wrote President Herbert Hoover in a letter to
the organization in 1932, on the occasion of its 50th

Today, Family Matters provides assistance for more than 20,000 children,
families, and seniors in the region in the areas of therapeutic and
traditional foster care, youth development programs, mental
health/counseling services, and services & activities for seniors.
Accredited by The Council on Accreditation Services for Families and
Children, Inc., The Commission on Accreditation Facilities, The Joint
Commission, and The American Camping Association, Family Matters
oversees and operates the following programs:

  • Camp Moss Hollow
  • Foster Care & Adoption
  • Bright Futures – Teen Mother Independent Living Center
  • Aging and Disability Resource Centers – Senior Services
  • Mental Behavioral Health
  • Community Resources
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program

Family Matters also recently announced the acquisition of Regent
Healthcare, LLC, a for-profit private duty & home health care agency
that provides a range of home health services including companion care,
personal care and skilled nursing services. They also offer the full
continuum of care for patients recovering from injury, illness or
disease. Services are currently provided in Anne Arundel, Northern
Prince Georges and Howard County with plans to expand to the District
and other sites in Maryland in the coming year. The acquisition will
help Family Matters in their efforts to build sustainable revenue to
ensure their longevity for the future.

“Family Matters is proud of the work we have done for nearly 135 years
to support and enhance the lives of so many members of our community,”
noted Board Chair Thomas L. Johnson. “As we continue to grow to meet the
needs of an evolving community, we pledge to keep our eye on
sustainability and longevity to ensure the provision of these vital
services for area families for the years to come.”

To learn more about Family Matters of Greater Washington, visit us on
the web at,
like us on Facebook at
and follow us on Twitter at @FamilyMattersDC.

About Family Matters of Greater Washington (

Family Matters of Greater Washington is a non-government, nonprofit
organization accredited by the Council on Accreditation Services for
Families and Children, Inc. and the American Camping Association.
Formerly known as Family and Child Services of Washington, D.C., Inc.,
Family Matters was founded in 1882 and has been an integral part of the
Washington, D.C. community for 135 years. One of the oldest, nationally
accredited social services organizations in the nation, Family Matters
provides comprehensive, accessible, low-fee services to thousands of
residents of the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Northern Virginia.
Family Matters of Greater Washington is a member of the Child Welfare
League of America and the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities.


Family Matters of Greater Washington
Jennifer Devlin, 703-876-1714