Catholic Family Services of Hamilton was established in 1949 and named the Catholic Welfare Bureau. In the past the agency assisted families in a variety of ways including food, clothing and necessities; counselling and casework for troubled families and individuals and for adolescents in conflict with the law; child welfare and placement services; reunification of immigrant and refugee families; placement of “war orphans”; and, financial counselling for over-indebted persons. The agency operated its own credit union and helped families purchase homes by offering mortgages.
Under its auspices, the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton-Wentworth was launched in 1954. In the same year, St. Martin’s Manor, a residence for single pregnant young women was opened. In 1965 the agency changed its name to Catholic Social Services to reflect the growing emphasis on social support and counselling services in place of material assistance, which had become the mandate of publicly funded agencies. Through the 1970’s, 80’s and into the 90’s, the agency emerged as a provider of highly professional counselling services for families and individuals and began responding to problems associated with family violence and sexual abuse. It established support services, including a day program for developmentally disabled adults needing assistance in maintaining independent lifestyles in the community. The agency also offers case management services for high-risk elderly persons and has worked extensively in the area of elder abuse.
In 1986 the agency adopted the name Catholic Family Services of Hamilton-Wentworth to better reflect its mission and commitment to help families and individuals realize fulfillment and happiness in all of their interpersonal and family relationships. In 2002 it changed its name to Catholic Family Services of Hamilton to reflect the amalgamated city.