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History

135 years of serving and caring for the people of Maine.

The essence of our founding mission has remained unchanged through the evolution from “aid” organization to a “professional” services organization.

Our story began in 1883 when a group of concerned church women organized Associate Charities to unify the charitable work being done by twenty-four different local church and religious groups in and around Bangor, Maine.

For the first decade, the “Board of Lady Visitors” carried out all the work of this organization. Because of this systemized approach to relief, the local community called upon the Associate Charities to collaborate and coordinate aid for events like the Great Bangor Fire of 1911, the Spanish Influenza Epidemic of 1918, the Halifax Harbor explosion in 1917, and local World War I relief effort.

Over the first three decades of the 20th century Associate Charities continued to evolve to meet the needs of the times. In 1940 services shifted from aid coordination to the social work philosophy of the day. The organization hired the first highly trained and skilled family case worker and took its first steps toward a professional social service agency.

In 1958 the organization changed its name to Family and Child Services of Bangor, Inc. to better reflect the services that were being provided.

In 1968 the name was changed to The Counseling Center.

In 1972 The Counseling Center expanded its services to include home health and later in 1996 began providing hospice services.

In 1980 the agency once again changed its name one final time to reflect the diverse services that were being provided. Community Health and Counseling Services (CHCS) came to be.

In 1994 CHCS services were expanded to the Kennebec, Somerset and Aroostook Counties.

In 2002 CHCS’s home health program receives accreditation from CHAP (Community Health Accreditation Program); CHCS continues to be accredited from CHAP.

In 2017 New Hope Hospice, a hospice provider, merged with CHCS.

CHCS has expanded our health care services to include Primary Care in Hancock County. Our comprehensive Mental Health, Home Heath, Hospice and Primary Care services support people throughout Maine. CHCS serves many communities spanning from Aroostook County to Cumberland County. CHCS believes that, when possible, care is best given in a familiar setting where family and friends can become a part of the support and recovery process. We design services to enhance the quality of life for those who are facing health challenges.

Our mission of providing resources to meet community needs has guided the organization for 135 years. “Community” is not just a word in our name but rather a guiding principle. Community Health and Counseling Services continues the philosophy of working in collaboration, not isolation. This enables us to offer comprehensive care to those who can benefit most from our programs. The focus of Community Health and Counseling Services is about meeting the needs in the context of the larger community.

Thank you for helping us to continue the vision of service that began 135 years ago.