A leading service provider for families in crisis across Missouri has merged with a similar operation in the southeast portion of the state.
St. Louis based behavioral health organization Great Circle is absorbing the Ozark Family Resource Agency. The combined resources of the two non-profit groups will blanket the state with home and community based services such as parenting support, crisis intervention and foster care management.
Great Circle’s Chief of Staff, John Money, said it assists families and individuals with issues ranging from abuse to emotional challenges.
“Mental health challenges are in everyone’s life,” said Money. “Dealing with those and bringing those to the surface is what we’re about, and making sure that families can have right supports in their home, or out of home if need be.”
Home and community services account for 60 percent of Great Circle’s work, which includes foster care contracting in almost every county in the state. Money said Great Circle has the resources to identify a need and provide the appropriate fix for families and children in crisis.
“We really try to take the family and assess, and look at what services are needed, see what the individuals are going through, and wrap our arms around them to see what we can provide to keep the family intact, whether it’s a short term residential stay and then reunifying them back into the home, or providing a foster family for a kid that doesn’t have any resources,” said Money.
The merger with Ozark Family Resource Agency is the most recent in a long line of like-minded organizations that Great Circle has absorbed.
The name Great Circle was established following the non-profit’s merger with Boys & Girls Town of Missouri in 2009. It was previously known as Edgewood Children’s Center.
Money said with Great Circle’s acquisition of Ozark Family Resource Center, it can strengthen services in the southeast region of Missouri, which has a high rate of poverty.
“The number of child abuse and neglect cases is pretty significant. It’s above the state average in that region. Children living in poverty and homelessness, the number of children hospitalized for behavioral health issues is high as well. So, there are some challenges in that community.”
Ozark Family Resource’s services reach families and children in seven counties. It has offices in Doniphan and Poplar Bluff.
It’s Child Advocacy Center is one of 16 assessment centers established by state law to serve children who have been victimized or witnessed sexual abuse. The center will retain its name while all other Ozark Family Resource facilities will operate under the Great Circle name.
In addition to behavioral health accommodations, Great Circle offers educational services. It employs teachers and therapists who work to support young people from age five up to twenty-one. The newly opened Great Circle Academy in St. Louis is Missouri’s first high school program specifically for teens in recovery from substance use.
The non-profit has five campuses in Columbia, Marshall, Springfield, St. James and St. Louis. It also has 12 community-based offices across the state – in Branson, Columbia, Hillsboro, Independence, Jefferson City, Kansas City, Kirksville, Lebanon, St. Joseph, St. Louis, Springfield and Waynesville.
Great Circle currently has an annual operating budget of $71.1 million and employs more than 1,400 people statewide. The organization claims it’s on target to serve 32,000 children and family members in 2017.
Great Circle also offer 24-hour specialized care for children with extreme emotional and behavioral challenges, as well as services to assist kids with autism.