In May 2002 a group of family members of children who have emotional, behavioral, and or mental health challenges, with multiple system involvement, got together during a breakout session at a Families Together of New York State Conference in Albany, NY. The purpose of the meeting was to fill a gap identified by families. That gap identified was the need for families to have their voice and concerns about service delivery represented in the city as well as Albany.
The group met for several months initially recruiting supporters from the Mental Health Association of NYC, Inc. (MHA), the Office of Mental Health (OMH), the Department Of Mental Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), the Jewish Board of Family and Children Services (JBFCS), and current and past presidents from other family run organizations in Arizona and Washington, DC, since the foundation was established in the mental health system.
- October 2003 – 13th annual family support conference – kick off for the brainchild/birth of Families On the Move. Family members met with Ginny Wood, the grandmother of the family support movement, in a small room to discuss ways that the family voices could become unified representing families of children with special needs across the city.
- It was at this meeting that a strategic plan was developed that considered both the positives and negatives that would confront the developmental process of starting the organization.
- October 2004 – 19 family members came together as a planning committee at a work retreat at Mohonk. The name, mission, goals, objectives and work plan were developed and we were on our way. Funding for the development of Families On The Move was made possible by the NYC System of Care Grant.
- June 2005 –Received the Employment Identification Number (EIN).
In a period of three years, the group had supporters discussing ways that family voices could become unified to represent families of children with special needs across the city. Working together the group developed a strategic plan taking into consideration the positives and negatives that would confront the developmental process of starting a family run organization. A group of 19 family members working diligently, over a weekend, developed the name, mission statement, goals, objectives and work plan for the organization culminating with the organization obtaining 501 (c) 3 status in October 2005.
- January 2007 Planning ensued and a funding source was identified. The initial funding for the organization was made possible through the DOHMH, NYC System of Care, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant though MHA. This funding allowed Families On The Move of New York City, Inc. to open its first office.
- Since then, FOTM has received several discretionary fund grants to provide parenting classes, contracts to provide Technical Assistance, supervision for community residence program advocates, develop trainings on engaging families of children /youth in residential placement, and currently has a direct multiple year contract with the State Office of Mental Health.