Serving Differently

The value of education is one thing most people can agree upon.  If you have one, you realize its value.  If you don’t have one, you realize its value.  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013) says the median weekly income for persons without a high school diploma is $472, $651 with a high school diploma, $777 with an Associate’s Degree, $1,308 with a Bachelor’s degree, $1,329 with a Master’s Degree, and $1623 with a Ph.D.  Simply put, there is a direct correlation between education and the ability to support one’s self and family. 

At Crossroad, we believe education is a key component necessary to ensure that youth have an opportunity for success.  The value we place on education has existed from our earliest days.  In the early 1900’s the agency sued our local school corporation to provide our German residents an education in their native language. In later years, we opened our own school to ensure that troubled kids with emotional and behavioral challenges have the same opportunity for education as others.  Those values are just as important to us today.

Alternative education is a growing program at Crossroad.  Last year we began a fuller partnership with our local school corporation to provide an alternative school program for their special education students who are unable to sustain themselves in public school.  We also expanded our services to parents seeking private education placements for their children facing challenges in public school.  The end result is that we now educate more youth that don’t live with us than youth living in our residential programs.  The agency also help kids attain higher education levels.  Generous donor support allows us to provide scholarship tuition support to adults served in Crossroad programs at an earlier time in their life.  Just this week two such scholarship requests crossed my desk and were approved.  As I write this, we are in talks with our school corporation about how education services will look for the start of a new school year and in years ahead.  We remain committed to investing in education and ensuring that all kids have this important, life-changing opportunity.

Community-based services continue to grow at Crossroad.  State budget pressures drive less costly treatment interventions than the residential treatment that has been primary through most of our history.  The agency has adapted by taking the services we used to do on-campus into communities, serving youth and their families in their homes and neighborhoods.  Today, we are involved in four types of community-based programs serving both Medicaid and non-Medicaid families.  Our “wrap-around” model means we partner with eligible families to listen to what they need and want before designing and wrapping around them the services to help their kids and families.  Crossroad is the Allen County, IN, Access Center for many of these services so please call our Intake Coordinator if you know of youth or families needing support.

 Our satellite office is now in its second year of operation providing outpatient therapy to children, adults, & couples in Huntington, IN, and surrounding counties.  This is a pilot-project endorsed by our Board of Directors as a learning opportunity for how Crossroad can expand services to other communities and populations.  At our Huntington office we have served persons from ages 5 to 75.  We have learned a lot, and we have more to learn before the project’s final evaluation.  Outpatient therapy provided in our satellite office augments our provision of outpatient counseling services in our Fort Wayne office.

Alternative Education…Community-based wrap-around…outpatient counseling at two sites.  You may be wondering why you are reading paragraph seven and you haven’t read anything yet about residential treatment.  That is because Crossroad now serves more persons in these new, non-residential programs than we serve in residential treatment.  Residential treatment hasn’t gone away.  It remains a crucial part of our broad array of treatment services.  Although, we have continued to see reduction in referrals for moderate intensity residential treatment, we continue to have high census in our in-patient Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF).  Our PRTF unit services children with serious emotional problems, including those whose behaviors pose dangers to themselves or others.  Crossroad remains committed to serving the most needy and challenging youth who may have been unsuccessful in prior treatment or been denied services by other providers. 

As you see today Crossroad has many different ways of serving many different people in many different places.  We serve young and old.  We serve both those with moderate problems and those with high-intensity needs.  We serve more persons at any one time than ever before.  We remain committed to that call our ancestors received 131 years ago to serve the neediest of God’s children.  We do so in partnership with the United Church of Christ and other faithful supporters whose gifts of prayer, time, labor, and dollars continue to make our mission possible.  Working together, we stay true to Crossroad’s vision of “Providing promising futures to children…whatever it takes.”


Adapting to fulfill our mission

Our nation faces hard economic realities.  It is faced with the dilemma of meeting needs of vulnerable citizens while trying to cut mounting state & federal budget deficits.  There are only a few choices of how to save money on what we call “entitlements.”  We can provide fewer services, we can pay providers less, or we can give services in more cost efficient ways.


Economic realities require agencies like Crossroad to adapt.  Today costly residential treatment is reserved for smaller numbers of youth whose needs cannot be met in less restrictive settings.  The new and cheaper way of giving services is to wrap around kids & families only the services they want and need to help them with their unique problems.  Today Crossroad professionals take their expertise to homes and communities to work with people one-to-one, where they are.  No longer do professionals assess persons and tell them what they need.  In community-based wrap around services families tell us what they need; our task is to listen and tailor unique services that meet unique needs.

Community-based wrap around is just one important part of how Crossroad helps.  Outpatient therapy, home-based therapy, Crossroad alternative school, conventional residential treatment, & psychiatric residential treatment complete our broad service array.  Crossroad continues to adapt to fulfill our mission of providing therapy, education, and support to troubled families.  In the words of our Board Chair, We’re not what we used to be, but we’re the same as we’ve always been.”


Randall J. Rider, MS, LSW, LMFT, 
President & CEO





An Agency of Change


“Crossroad is an agency of change.  We always have been.  We suspect that we always will be.  It is obvious that we work to change the lives of those that we serve.  But, we ourselves have changed.  We have changed who we serve.  We have changed how we serve them.  And, we have changed who we partner with to serve them.  There have been lots of changes since we began serving in 1883.  There will be more changes.  The world is changing and undoubtedly Crossroad will change along with it.  I can guarantee you that where we are going shall look different than where we’ve been, because that is what we have always done.

The Strategic Directions Committee of our Board is presently talking about what the Crossroad of tomorrow may look like.  We have had discussions over the past months, and we will [continue those discussions] with the full Board and executive staff.  As part of the process to determine where we are going, we have looked backward to see where we’ve been…to see where we’ve come from.  In doing so, we realized that over 127 years, many things have changed, but there are a few critical things that have not.

Well what has changed?

Who we serve has changed.  Client groups have come and gone.  As Crossroad looks back over its 127 year history, we can name several distinct client groups that we served at different periods in our history:

  • We served orphans.  And then we didn’t anymore.
  • We served impoverished, dependent children whose parents didn’t have the resources to raise them.  And then we didn’t anymore.
  • We served unwed, pregnant mothers.  And then we didn’t anymore.
  • We served tiny newborn babies in need of adoptive families.  And then we didn’t anymore.
  • We served moderately troubled kids whose parents were having trouble managing them.  And then we didn’t anymore.
  • We now serve significantly troubled kids whose emotional problems interfere with their functioning in one or more areas of their lives including, family, community and school. 
  • We now serve abused and neglected kids, children of trauma.
  • We now serve families because we recognize that children live and thrive in family settings.
  • We now serve kids from the community who come to our school for alternative education after having trouble in the public school system.
  • We now serve adult former Crossroad kids who receive financial support to go to trade schools or college through Crossroad’s Post High School Education Fund founded by the Beier Family.

Our Board is working to answer the question: who are the people that Crossroad will serve tomorrow?

Where we serve has changed. 

  • We once served on a working farm – farmed by staff and kids to raise their own food as well as operating revenue.  We don’t farm anymore.
  • We served on a residential campus as a “children’s home.”
  • We served in communities, having home-based staff with offices in South Bend and Merrillville.
  • We now go to family homes where we serve kids and adults living there.
  • We now go to community apartments to serve older teenagers who are launching into adulthood.
  • We serve clients in offices, providing outpatient counseling.
  • We serve clients in a school, providing educational services.

Our Board is working to answer the question: where will Crossroad serve tomorrow?

Our markets or who we partner with have changed.

  • In our early days, most of our children were sent to us and were financially sponsored by churches of the denomination that gave us birth.  That is no longer true.
  • Then there was a shift to government entities like the Department of Child Services becoming the largest referral and payer source.
  • Increasingly in recent years, services are family selected and family driven with families choosing to spend their Medicaid, insurance dollars, or cash to get help at Crossroad.

As our state and federal governments try to reduce budget deficits, we are faced with the reality that the new direction is to serve people in need differently and to spend less money doing it than we used to.  Our Board is working to answer the question: what are the viable markets in which Crossroad will serve tomorrow?

There have been so many changes, that our name has changed 4 times over 127 years.

  • We were the Reformed Orphan’s Home.
  • We were the Evangelical and Reformed Children’s Home.
  • We were the Fort Wayne Children’s Home
  • Recently, we became Crossroad Child & Family Services.

Why the name change?  Our new name reflects the other changes we have talked about.  We are not just about a Fort Wayne campus anymore.  We are not just about children anymore.  While children are still at the core of what we do, we now also serve the grown-ups that impact their lives.  We do not just provide a home anymore.  Although Crossroad continues to do residential services, “children’s home” is now gone from our name because we do so much more.  In fact, in 2011 Crossroad serves more persons in home-based and outpatient counseling programs than we do children who live here.  Crossroad Child & Family Services: a changed name that better reflects changing services.

Well, if who we serve has changed, if where we serve them has changed, if the markets for our services have changed, and if even what we call ourselves has changed – what has remained the same?  The continuous thread for 127 years – whatever we call ourselves, whoever the clients are, wherever they come from, wherever they are seen to do the work that we do – the continuous thread is the service itself.  For 127 years the staff of this organization has taken their compassion, their commitment, and their expertise at helping others to meet clients’ needs whatever and wherever they are. 

There is something else that is constant and unchanged.  The people that Crossroad has served for 127 years and those we will serve tomorrow in whatever way we will serve them…they all have something in common.  All of them have something that they need and something that they quietly hope for in their heart of hearts. They all have dreams.  Crossroad has served for 127 years as a vehicle to help people meet needs and overcome challenges…to give them opportunity to achieve dreams.”

 Randall J. Rider, President & CEO


We hold them in our heart.

We hold them in our heart. They were once part of us and forever shall be. Some came angry. Some came scared. Some came sad. Others came hurt. Some came confused. They all came. All carried their own private burdens.

For a little while we shared their lives. We cared for them. We took care of their wounds. We cried with them. We taught. We laughed with them. We planted seeds to germinate later. We became part of their lives. They became part of ours.

Like every chick from the beginning of creation, there came a time for them to leave. Some grew strong. Leaving was a natural progression of their growth. Some found comfort in the familiar. We coaxed them to the edge of the nest and encouraged them to try the larger world. A few found the edge before we were ready. They took the leap on their own. No matter. All in their own way entered the world changed by those of us who shared the journey with them.

Like your children…like my children, they call. They come back. Sometimes they do not call as soon or as often as we might like to hear from them. When they reach out, they have things to say. A degree received. Advice remembered. A wrong done to them. A marriage celebrated. A kindness recalled. Children born. A loss. A job obtained. They share their successes and seek solace for their hurts. We rejoice at hearing from them.

They are why we exist. We hold them in our heart.

Randall J. Rider,   President & CEO

 At Crossroad we say, “Once a Crossroad kid, always a Crossroad kid.”  If you ever received services here, we’d love to hear from you.