People often ask us, what does “CASA” stand for. CASA is an acronym for “Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse”. There are few Councils left in New York State, but our dedication and drive to serve our communities has only expanded over the years.
Since we set out on this journey, there has been a few name changes, locations added and merges with other organizations to only broaden our mission and work with incredible people who are also driven to create community change.
As we begin to breakdown our history, it’s important to note that our future is expanding as we type. As of April 1, 2022 the Council on Addiction and Recovery Services (CAReS) of Cattaraugus County, became part of the CASA-Trinity Team. So, as you read, you will be learning about both of our histories and how we became one.
CASA-Trinity Through the Years
CASA-Trinity got its start in Geneseo in 1974 with an Outpatient Clinic. CAReS got its start as Cattaraugus County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (CCCASA) and was incorporated on July 12, 1974. Both organizations were set up as non-profit agencies to provide prevention education, information, and referral services. During this time, a Board of Directors was formed, and we began our mission.
In 1984, with Board approval, CCCASA expanded its early intervention programs by adding a school-based substance abuse prevention/education program. A few short years later, in 1986, the addition of outpatient counseling for those individuals recovering from alcohol and other drug abuse began when we assumed responsibility for the Cattaraugus County run Guidance Center outpatient counseling services.
Through a generous donation in 1988, CCCASA acquired a landmark home in Westons Mills and opened Weston’s Manor: a 16-bed community residence for individuals in recovery from chemical dependency. This facility officially opened in 1990.
Prevention education became a larger part CCCASA services in 1992. This program provided opportunities for individuals, families, and the community to learn about themselves and to reduce or eliminate the risks presented by alcohol and other drug use. The Prevention Department continues to provide these services through accurate, age-appropriate information throughout school districts in the county and in the community about alcohol, substance use disorder and other related issues. The staff of the Prevention Department encourage healthy alternatives and promote no substance use as a viable choice for all individuals.
The Shelter Plus Care program, a federally subsidized housing program targeting homeless persons with a substance use disorder or mental health disorder diagnosis, began operation in 1995. Participants in the program focus their efforts on their plans for recovery with additional emphasis placed on educational and vocational goals. Unfortunately, due to loss of funding, the program ended in April 2019.
In 1997, Wendy’s House opened in Cattaraugus County. This supportive living environment is designed to house local recovering women and their children. Wendy’s House is dedicated in memory of Wendy Sue Axelson, whose life reflected courage and hope in facing personal trauma. We also operate additional subsidized housing for those in recovery through the Supportive Living Program. These apartment style living environments are for both males and females who have sustained more long-term recovery.
Keeping with our record for meeting the changing needs of the community, an employee assistance program called Perspectives signed its first contract in April of 1999. While the program was proven to be successful, the needs of the community changed, and the program was ended in December of 2012.
To further meet the needs of our growing community, the Olean Outpatient Clinic expanded its services by opening clinic sites in Salamanca and Gowanda. In 2018 the clinic in Machias was moved to Franklinville. Services were also provided to residents in the NYS Office of Children and Family Services Residential Facilities in Great Valley and Limestone until they closed in 2009 and at the Randolph Children’s Home, now known as New Directions Youth and Family Services.
After 35 years of serving our community, the Cattaraugus County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse changed its name to the Council on Addiction Recovery Services, Incorporated (CAReS) in April of 2009. So much had changed in the field of recovery services, such as the research linking multiple addictions, that the name no longer reflected the full scope of services provided by the Council. The new name Council on Addiction Recovery Services (CAReS) truly more accurately reflects our mission and the services that we are providing.
In 2009, CAReS began providing medication assisted treatment in the Olean office as an additional tool in the treatment of substance use disorders. The service has since been expanded to offer multiple medications specifically used to assist with alcohol and opiate use disorder treatment. In 2019, this service has expanded to our satellite clinic in Salamanca.
Also in 2009, CAReS became a founding member of a grassroots effort to reduce substance use in Cattaraugus County through the Healthy Cattaraugus County coalition. The coalition seeks to change the environment in the County by educating community members, influencing social norms and potentially changing laws to support less substance use. Funding support for coalition efforts has been provided by OASAS and most recently the Drug Free Community Support program through the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
In 2011, CASA-Trinity acquired the Elmira, NY Outpatient Clinic.
In 2016, CASA-Trinity opened the Sayre, PA Outpatient Clinic and the Center of Excellence, which is a Case Management in Bradford County that is available for any Pennsylvania resident the is struggling with Opiates. We also joined Finger Lakes Independent Practice Association (IPA) and was awarded Tioga County Prevention.
In 2017, CASA-Trinity obtained a grant to begin the Center of Treatment Innovations (COTI) Programs in 3 counties. This was a mobile unit that allowed our teams to meet people out in the community and assist in warm hand offs to appropriate levels of care. We were also awarded Youth Clubhouse that is in Elmira, NY.
In 2019, CASA-Trinity merged with Loyola Recovery Services in Hornell, NY which gave us and Outpatient Clinic and an Inpatient Facility in Steuben County. We opened the Wellness Residential in Dansville, NY and Towanda, PA Outpatient Clinic.
CAReS continued to evolve and address the needs of the community in regard to substance use prevention, treatment and recovery. In 2019, we will be offering additional residential treatment facilities in Weston’s Mills, providing 20 more beds for treatment of substance use disorders.
In 2020, we were hit with the COVID-19 Pandemic. However, that did not stop CASA-Trinity from shifting from in-person to telehealth services in less than 10 days. This allowed us to provide SUD services to approx. 1,900 individuals. We also received $4.5 million for residential program in Elmira, NY.
In 2021, CASA-Trinity received $3.8 million Federal grant to build CCBHC project. CCBHC stands for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics and expands our services in a new way. Not only does it allow us to keep the person-centered approach, but whole health approach to a client’s recovery. Connecting them to other health care providers and ensuring their getting all of the health care they deserve. We are currently in the process of bringing a Methadone Clinic to Elmira, NY.
In 2022, CASA-Trinity and CAReS merged and broadened the scope of Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery to include Livingston, Cattaraugus, Steuben, Chemung, and Tioga Counties in New York State and Bradford County in Pennsylvania. Not only does this help our clients have more locations to choose from, but it also expands the services that each of us can now offer to our communities.