Connecting People to Services

4 decades of service

The Town of Falmouth has always been fortunate to have community members who have been committed to helping residents with problems of daily living and social adjustment for over 40 years.  In 1971 a group of interested citizens and professionals formed the Falmouth Community Council and petitioned Town meeting to hire a professional social worker on a trial basis to provide direct services to residents in need.  The success of this “trial” led the 1975 Town meeting to combine the Community Council and the Town Drug Committee to form the Human Services Committee whose role was to inform the selectmen regarding human service needs and advocate for policies  and services.  Falmouth’s first full time Human Services Coordinator, William E. Aliski, was hired to  conducte a community-wide needs assessment and develop a long range plan to strengthen and coordinate human services in the community.  This vision of strengthening the community as a whole, by ensuring that all residents have access to professional mental health services and by developing much needed programs and services, continues to this day.

In 1983, Peter D. Kirwin became the Director of the Human Services Department which grew to a staff of 5 masters level, licensed social workers.  During Peter’s 25 year tenure, the human services staff participated in the development of over 150 programs – many of which continue to provide vital services to Falmouth residents today.  Some key examples include:  Falmouth Council on Aging, Falmouth Housing Trust, Carriage House family shelter, Gerald Flynn House, Falmouth Service Center, VNA Interpreter Services, Meals on Wheels, Around the Table Meals Program, Falmouth Substance Abuse Commission and Prevention Partnership, Falmouth HIV/AIDS Community Partnership; FLOCS (Family Learning Offered by Community and Schools), Early Child Bearing Program, Visions Teen Mothers Home, Cape Cod Neighborhood Support Coalition, Together We Can, Fairwinds Day Rehabilitation Program, Falmouth Homeless Prevention Program, Inside Out Program (counseling and case management for newly released inmates) and Friendly Visitors for Homebound Elders.  Almost all of the ongoing programs are now managed by qualified committees or organizations in the community which helps to ensure the sustainability of the program.

In addition to community work, the Falmouth Human Services clinicians have provided mental health counseling services to more than 2600 Falmouth residents and many more psycho-educational groups, assessments and referral services.  The average age of residents receiving services tends to be about 47 years old and most are employed in our community.  Our services have always been free of charge and tailored to meet the individual needs of Falmouth residents.  Over time, some common problems addressed include depression, anxiety, substance abuse, history of trauma, relationship/family problems, and grief and loss.

Today the department has 4 masters level, licensed social workers who provide skilled mental health services to Falmouth residents who are unable to access private mental health care for a variety of reasons.  Even with the addition of mandatory health insurance, many residents find it a hardship to afford the co-pay required for mental health care.  We work closely to connect residents with mental health clinicians or other resources in the community  – but if this is not a feasible option, then our clinicians provide the service directly.  Our primary goal is to ensure that no resident will go without the assistance they need.

As the town’s population grows and changes, new human service needs are continually emerging.  The Human Services Department staff and the Human Services Committee of volunteer appointees stay abreast of these changes and advocate for revisions to policies and procedures, new services, grant funding, or other projects that will address some of these unmet needs.  Click here to see a list of “Community Partnership Projects” currently being addressed in our community.