As Catholic Community Service celebrates 40 years of serving the poor and vulnerable of Juneau and Southeast Alaska, it is a great time to reminisce on the rich history and foundation of our agency. CCS opened its doors and hearts to those in need in January of 1973 when it opened the St. Ann’s Child Care Center which was staffed by six Jesuit Volunteers led by Bishop Francis Hurley.
During the first 10 years, CCS began providing senior nutrition and transportation through a network of Senior Centers serving the Southeast communities of Angoon, Craig, Douglas, Haines, Hoonah, Hydaburg, Juneau, Kake, Klawock, Klukwan, Saxman, Sitka, Skagway, Wrangell and Yakutat. We also began services to families through the Child Care and Family Resources services.
In 1985, CCS began the Bridge Adult Day Program for senior citizens requiring structured care. In 1986, SESS began the Ketchikan Care Coordination Program, the first project in the state to provide case management to seniors in Alaska. Through our Child Care and Family Resources division, we developed many resources for parents and families such as education and prevention of child abuse and parenting classes, pregnancy support services, and the child care assistance and food program. During this time CCS had a budget of $2 million, 44 full-time and 100 part-time employees.
From 1994-2003, CCS continued to expand services to include a volunteer program, family caregiver support program, mental health services for the elderly, a family reunification program, teen family center, Parents Anonymous, Child Advocacy Center, and Children of Incarcerated Parents Program. Southeast Senior Services staff developed partnerships with local tribal organizations to make up for the loss of State funding shifting north, due to a population-based funding formula.
In 2003, Hospice and Home Care of Juneau merged with CCS, serving as a third program division. CCS purchased property on Old Glacier Highway which now holds the Bridge Adult Day Center, Care-A-Van offices, three rental apartments and program space. To help address the huge shortage of childcare, Child Care and Family Resources opened the Puddle Jumpers Child Development Center in 2008. In 2012, CCS was awarded national accreditation through the Council on Accreditation. Today, CCS consists of three divisions – Southeast Senior Services, Child Care and Family Resources, and Hospice and Home Care of Juneau. CCS has a $10 million operating budget and employs roughly 250 staff throughout Southeast Alaska.
During this 40 year celebration, CCS wants to honor all of those, past and present, who have put in countless hours to make CCS what it is today. Without all of those dedicated individuals, CCS would not be able to fulfill its mission of “Strengthening families and individuals in Southeast Alaska, with dignity, care, and compassion.”
• Jennifer Carson is the acting Executive Director of Catholic Community Service and Marianne Mills, MSW, MBA, is the program director for Southeast Senior Services.