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

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