HCRS celebrates 50 years of serving the community

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – Health Care and Rehabilitation Services (HCRS), Vermont’s second-largest community mental-health agency, is pleased to announce their 50 anniversary this year. The non-profit agency is planning a variety of fun activities and community events as part of this celebration.

As the agency designated by the State of Vermont to support individuals in Windsor and Windham counties who are experiencing challenges from mental illness, substance abuse, or developmental disabilities, HCRS provides a comprehensive array of services. The agency currently serves over 4,500 individuals every year, supporting children, youth, adults, and families in a variety of settings. Professionally trained staff work out of HCRS’ offices as well as within schools, police departments, on the job, and in many other community settings in order to support people where services are most needed.

The seeds for HCRS were planted in 1967 when town select boards in Windham and Windsor Counties formed a coalition to identify the needs of individuals in the two counties who were developmentally challenged. Its purpose was to raise funds and create smaller agencies to address the behavioral, medical, and rehabilitative health care needs of area residents and families who were struggling with developmental and/or long-term mental illness issues. In this capacity, HCRS was instrumental in assisting in the creation of many current community-based organizations.

The role of HCRS as a funding source became redundant in 1973 when federal legislation created the Medicaid funding mechanism for state government agencies. Recognizing the continuing need of community residents, HCRS made a successful application to the National Institute of Mental Health and became a regional mental health agency, incorporating into its charter the Brattleboro Family Center and the Windsor Community Mental Health Agency.

Since that time, HCRS has continued to develop and expand programs to meet the needs identified by community members and has evolved into a comprehensive community human service provider. The agency’s mission is to provide creative, collaborative, and compassionate health care services that are responsive to the needs of the community. The agency envisions a community where people are inspired, empowered, and supported to lead healthy and meaningful lives.

As part of its anniversary celebration, HCRS will be hosting a family-friendly community event at the River Garden in Brattleboro on April 29. During July, free hot dog lunches and open houses will be held at its Hartford, Springfield, and Brattleboro offices. Other events and activities are also being planned. Anyone interested can visit www.hcrs.org for more information.



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