About F.S.E.N.S.

Family Service of Eastern Nova Scotia Today

Family Service of Eastern Nova Scotia continues to evolve to meet new challenges in addressing client needs. We work actively with our funding and community partners to develop services and programs that meet the needs of Children, Youth, Individuals, Couples and Families throughout Eastern Nova Scotia.

Family Service of Eastern Nova Scotia works to provide a Warm, Welcoming, Non-Judgmental place for our clients.

Family Service of Eastern Nova Scotia maintains a Person-Centered approach to our work.  We see each of our clients as Unique and we will work together with you to meet the goals that you set for change in your life.

Family Service of Eastern Nova Scotia strives to advance a Trauma-Informed Approach to all aspects of the agency’s work.  We are transforming our practices and ourselves by honouring the personal, interpersonal, structural violence and trauma-informed knowledge, skills and resilience of the people we meet.

Family Service of Eastern Nova Scotia Values Client Feedback and have implemented Feedback Informed Treatment to ensure that our clients’ voices guide their work with us.

Family Service of Eastern Nova Scotia provides professional counselling services on a wide range of issues. Group programs are also offered to meet client needs.

Agency offices are located throughout Cape Breton and Eastern Nova Scotia.

Our Mission and Vision

Our Mission at Family Services of Eastern Nova Scotia is to promote and strengthen families and individuals in the building of a just and supportive society. Our Vision is to be a leader in strengthening families and communities by being innovative, dynamic and fully involved in the communities we serve.

We achieve our mission and vision by:

  • providing counselling to individuals, couples, families and groups
  • providing educational programs that respond to community needs
  • maintaining a well trained and professional staff
  • adhering to best practices in all aspects of our operation
  • being fiscally responsible
  • social advocacy

Our History

Family Service of Eastern Nova Scotia was founded in 1969 but traces its roots back to the 1930’s. In the grip of the Great Depression, many churches formed small family service agencies to attempt to meet the material needs of their parishioners. From this grew agencies with the wider mandate of providing a combination of counselling and assistance in the tradition of Charity Organization Societies.

Originally staffed by the Sisters of St. Martha these agencies operated independently until the early 1950’s when they were brought under the umbrella of Antigonish Diocesan Charities with Fr. John Webb acting as the first director. In the mid 1950’s, Fr. Vern Boutilier, a professional Social Worker, joined the agency as Assistant Director. It was under Fr. Boutilier’s leadership that Family Service of Eastern Nova Scotia, as we know it today, was created when all independent agencies merged on September 1, 1969.

Amalgamation enabled the agency to qualify for government funding. The balance of funding has been derived from the Diocese of Antigonish, Religious Orders, United Way Cape Breton and United Way of Pictou County, fees for service, and private donations.

In 1994, a strategic planning exercise noted the need for Family Service to create its own identity, independent of the Diocese of Antigonish. Accordingly, Family Service of Eastern Nova Scotia was incorporated under the Societies Act of Nova Scotia on March 1, 1995. A new board was formed with a wide-ranging membership. The Agency governed by a volunteer policy Board of Directors and is managed by an Executive Director and Leadership Team.