359 Ballston Avenue, Saratoga Springs, NY   
Phone: 518-587-8008 - Fax: 518-587-8241

Saratoga Center for the Family News and Updates

New Support Group for Teens Offered at the Center

Posted in Child Advocacy Center, General, Mental Health, Prevention Programming by SaratogaCFF on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 at 1:58 pm
Paula Zimmerman, LMHC

Paula Zimmerman, LMHC

Saratoga Center for the Family is pleased to offer a new support group for transgender, non-binary, gender non-conforming, and gender questioning teens. The purpose of the group is to offer a safe space for those wishing to share experiences and to receive support from peers. Therapist Paula Zimmerman, LMHC, will lead the group two Wednesday afternoons each month.

Support group meetings are currently scheduled for the following Wednesdays: July 17, July 31, August 14, August 28, September 11, and September 18 beginning at 4:00 p.m. at the Center’s main location at 359 Ballston Avenue, Saratoga Springs, NY.

Pre-registration is required by contacting Paula at (518) 587-8008 x305 or emailing her at pzimmerman@saratogacff.org.

Saratoga Center for the Family 10th Annual Golf Classic a Huge Success – Winner Makes a Hole in One for a New Honda Truck

Posted in Fundraising Event, General by SaratogaCFF on Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 3:48 pm

The Center held its 10th Annual Golf Classic on Wednesday, June 5 at McGregor Links Country Club in Wilton. The event included 26 foursomes and many generous sponsorships including Eagle Sponsors: John Brooks, Commerce Hub, Creative Office Systems, King Wealth Management Group, McGregor Links Country Club, Seeley Office Systems, Web Traffic Advisors (Chris Boggs), Terry & Janice White, Vahanian & Associates Financial Planning; Birdie Sponsors: Adirondack Trust Company, Jean Ann Dennis, Luther Forest Wealth Advisors (Tim Pehl), New York State Police Investigators Association, Tom Novellano, Saratoga Hospital, Saratoga Springs Police Benevolent Association, Saratoga Vision, Scotty’s Restaurant (The Parillo Family), Trustco Bank, Alex & Debbie Walter, and William J. Burke & Sons–Bussing & Cunniff Funeral Homes; and many other generous donors and raffle prize offerings.

Golfer Sean Cohan with Executive Director Rebecca Baldwin and Golf Committee Chair John Brooks after Sean made a hole-in-one at Hole #18 at McGregor Links winning him a three-year lease on a 2019 Honda Ridgeline from Saratoga Honda

Golfer Sean Cohan with Executive Director Rebecca Baldwin and Golf Committee Chair John Brooks after Sean made a hole-in-one at Hole #18 at McGregor Links, winning him a three-year lease on a 2019 Honda Ridgeline from Saratoga Honda

The event featured a Hole in One at Hole #18 sponsored by Saratoga Honda. This year, for the first time, a hole in one was made by golfer Sean Cohan of South Glens Falls, NY. He sunk the 165 yard shot to win a three-year lease on a 2019 Honda Ridgeline.

All proceeds from the tournament directly benefit Saratoga Center for the Family programs; Saratoga Center for the Family works to provide a comprehensive array of services committed to strengthening, empowering, and educating children, families, and the community to reduce the incidences and effects of child abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction. For further information, visit the Center online at www.saratogacff.org or call (518) 587-8008.

Pictured left to right: Executive Director of Saratoga Center for the Family Rebecca Baldwin, Golf Chairperson and Saratoga Center for the Family Board Secretary John Brooks, Winning Foursome members with a low gross of 56: Terry White, Alex Walter, Tom Novellano, and Dan Juffey

Pictured left to right: Executive Director of Saratoga Center for the Family Rebecca Baldwin and Golf Committee Chair John Brooks with Winning Foursome members with a low gross of 56: Terry White, Alex Walter, Tom Novellano, and Dan Juffey

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Posted in Child Advocacy Center, Fundraising Event, General by SaratogaCFF on Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 11:33 am
Saratoga Center for the Family Staff

Saratoga Center for the Family Staff

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month; it is a time where the national spotlight is shone on a topic that can be difficult to discuss. At Saratoga Center for the Family, their everyday efforts are focused on helping to treat, prevent and educate the public about child abuse. Executive Director Rebecca Baldwin states, “We all have a role to play in healthy child development, and our goal this April is to help others recognize that role and the ways in which we can maximize our impact.”

According to Baldwin, one way the community can get involved is Wear Blue Day.  On Friday, April 5, Wear Blue Day is a day dedicated to celebrating child abuse prevention efforts across the country.

“Wear Blue Day (April 5) is a chance to highlight the ways that people can help great childhoods happen across New York and the country,” said Baldwin.  “You can get involved in Wear Blue Day by telling people you are participating in a national day to highlight child abuse prevention; by taking a picture of yourself and your colleagues all dressed in blue and share it on your favorite social media platform using the #WearBlue hashtag; or by sharing a story of how you help mentor children, advocate for policies that keep kids safe, or donate time or money to a local child serving organizations and inspire others to get involved during Child Abuse Prevention month.”

Along with Wear Blue Day, Saratoga Center for the Family is running a “Pennies for Prevention” campaign throughout the month of April to raise funds and awareness for child abuse prevention. Baldwin says to look for Saratoga Center for the Family coin drop canisters at local businesses to participate. All donations will directly support the Center’s programs.  Businesses who wish to participate should contact the Center at (518) 587-8008 or email aradik@saratogacff.org.

Later in the month, the Center, in partnership with Longfellows Restaurant, will be hosting its Annual Power of Hope dinner on Thursday, April 18, from 6:00-9:00 p.m.  This event recognizes and thanks donors, sponsors, and supporters of the Center.  The evening will begin with hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar, followed by a speaking program, dinner and dessert.

The cost to attend is $55 per individual, $500 per table of 10, and $35 for community partners including local, state, and community-based friends and partner organizations.  Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.saratogacff.org and clicking on fundraising events or by calling Saratoga Center for the Family at (518) 587-8008.

“Also, throughout the month of April, as you drive down Broadway (in Saratoga Springs), you may notice our Saratoga Center for the Family flags lining the street,” says Baldwin.  “These are yet another reminder of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month and a reminder that we are here to serve the community.”

For over 40 years, Saratoga Center for the Family has served the families of Saratoga County and beyond.  The Center offers assistance with mental health counseling, education and prevention programs, and assistance for children, families, and individuals who have been victimized.  No family is turned away due to inability to pay.  For further information, visit saratogacff.org or follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/SaratogaCenter.












New York Child Victims Act Law Long Overdue

Posted in Child Advocacy Center, General, Mental Health by SaratogaCFF on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 at 12:19 pm

John Kelly

“It has been long overdue; today we celebrate with victims,” says John Kelly, Law Enforcement Coordinator at Saratoga Center for the Family regarding the passing of New York’s Child Victims Act.

Kelly explained that for victims of child sexual abuse, the passing of the Child Victims Act will help adult victims of abuse heal. “This is finally a message from our leaders that we believe you and feel this issue is important,” says Kelly. “For years, victims of abuse who bravely approached law enforcement to report the abuse were devastated to learn that no criminal action could be taken in some cases due to the statute of limitations.”

Kelly personally and professionally knows of several adult victims of child sexual abuse who may decide to pursue their options now that the Child Victims Act has been passed, and in doing so will give them hope to keep moving forward. He says, “Some victims may not be looking at just monetary compensation, but rather looking to be heard and acknowledged. Hearing the words, ‘we believe you’ and ‘what happened was wrong and not your fault’ help remove the weight off the shoulders of victims and the road to healing can begin or continue.”

Jennifer Wormley

Jennifer Wormley, Director of the Child Advocacy Center at Saratoga Center for the Family, agrees. “There may be victims who were either afraid to come forward or who just weren’t ready and when they did feel comfortable enough to tell their story, because of the statute of limitations, they may have felt it was pointless,” she says. “Now, all victims can come forward and shine a light on someone that needs to be investigated. Being able to share their story will not only bring them much needd closure, but will possibly help protect others.”

Rebecca Baldwin

“We are all pleased with the outcome of the vote,” says Rebecca Baldwin, Executive Director of Saratoga Center for the Family. “No one should feel rushed to tell their story of abuse; only the individual knows when the time is right for them; and now, the time will always be right.”

For anyone who needs support, Baldwin says Saratoga Center for the Family has certified, professional therapists who are trained in trauma, along with a Child Advocacy Center (CAC) where families and children go to feel safe and supported. The CAC’s multidisciplinary team specializes in working with families and children who are victims of abuse, explains Baldwin.

Saratoga Center for the Family serves Saratoga County and the surrounding communities. They have the Harriet M. West Child Advocacy Center and therapists located at their main office at 359 Ballston Avenue, Saratoga Springs. Saratoga Center for the Family also locates therapists in Scotia-Glenville, Shenendehowa, and South Glens Falls School Districts; and community locations in Mechanicville and Corinth. For more information on Saratoga Center for the Family, visit their website at saratogacff.org or contact the main office at (518) 587-8008.


Saratoga Center for the Family Welcomes New Board Members

Posted in General by SaratogaCFF on Friday, January 18, 2019 at 3:39 pm

We are pleased to announce the addition of two new members to our Board of Directors: Attorney Jennifer Jeram and Superintendent Dr. Michael Patton.

Attorney Jennifer Jeram

Attorney Jennifer Jeram

Attorney Jennifer Jeram currently serves as Principal Law Clerk to the Honorable Robert J. Muller, Justice of the Supreme Court for the Fourth Judicial District.

A graduate of Niskayuna High School, Atty. Jeram earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (with minor concentration in Social Studies of Medicine) from McGill University and a Juris Doctor (magna cum laude, with concentration in Health Law) from State University of New York at Buffalo Law School.

Along with serving on Saratoga Center for the Family’s Board, Atty. Jeram also is a member of the Saratoga County Bar Association, the Warren County Bar Association, the Arongen Elementary School PTA (Chair, Partners in Reading), the Saratoga County Democratic Committee, and the Clifton Park Democratic Committee.

Atty. Jeram and her husband, Dan, live in Clifton Park with their three children: Jimmy (age 7), Ben (age 5) and Madeline (age 2).  She enjoys doing art projects with her children, hiking in the Adirondacks, and spending time with her family.

Asked why she became a member of Saratoga Center for the Family’s Board, Atty. Jeram said, “There have been some terrible child abuse cases in the news the last few years and, as a mom with young kids, I was really affected by them. I decided I wanted to get involved in the community and do something to help prevent child abuse. I started volunteering for Saratoga Center for the Family in 2017 and was immediately impressed by the work being done there. The Center offers so many services to not only prevent child abuse but also to treat victims of abuse. I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the Board and I look forward to continuing to support the amazing work of this organization.”

Dr. Michael Patton

Dr. Michael Patton

Dr. Michael Patton is the Superintendent for the Saratoga Springs City School District.

A graduate of Shenendehowa High School, Dr. Patton earned his Bachelor’s degree in Labor and Industrial Relations from Pennsylvania State University, a Master’s degree in School Counseling and his School District Administrator Certification from The College of Saint Rose; and an Education Doctorate from the Sage Colleges.

Currently serving on the Saratoga Foundation for Innovative Learning Board of Directors and Saratoga Sponsor A Scholar Board of Directors, Dr. Patton is excited to be a part of Saratoga Center for the Family’s Board.  He states, “As an educator who is committed to advocating for the needs of all students, I am excited about the opportunity to work with the Saratoga Center for the Family to continue strengthening our schools and community by providing proactive education, prevention programs, and mental health support services to help address the growing needs of our children and their families.”

A resident of Ballston Lake, Dr. Patton is married to his wife, Bridget, a Kindergarten teacher in Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake.  They have three sons all attending Saratoga Springs High School: Graham (a Senior), Witt (a Sophomore), and Huck (a Freshman).  In his free time, Dr. Patton enjoys spending time with his family, volunteering in the community, and coaching youth lacrosse.

“We are delighted to welcome these new board members to Saratoga Center for the Family,” says Board President Dave Shacket. “With the ongoing growth of our school counseling programs and the continual need of our mental health and advocacy services sought by local families, Jen and Mike’s experience and expertise will complement the strengths of our current Board. The Center is committed to empower as many children and families as we possibly can and their addition to the board will help us continue delivering such critical and important services at a high level. I am proud to serve alongside such devoted community members.”

Saratoga Center for the Family’s Board of Directors also consists of Douglas Gerhardt, Vice President; Katherine Smith, Treasurer; Terrance White, Past President; John Brooks, Secretary; Chris Boggs, Ellen Brodie, Colleen Hamel, Timothy Hoefer, Erinn Kolligian, Gregory Moore, Michael Venerus, Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, Ann E. Wolpert, and Executive Director Rebecca Baldwin.

4th Annual Saratoga County Safe Harbour Conference

Posted in Child Advocacy Center, General by SaratogaCFF on Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 2:16 pm

Friday, October 26, 2018

9:00 AM – 3:30 PM 

LOCATION :  Arthur Zankel Music Center, Skidmore College, 815 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

A conference to educate, inform, raise awareness, and take steps to prevent and stop trafficking and CSEY, and also familiarize attendees with victim resources and services available in Saratoga County. In past years this has been a very popular event and as a result we expect tickets to go quickly. Please only register if you intend to participate in this event.


Jasmine Grace is an effective keynote speaker, panel participant and facilitator for trainings, workshops and groups. She has spoken on panels at the U.S Commission on Civil Rights in New Hampshire and at two side panels for members of the United Nations in New York. She often speaks at schools, churches and conferences. In addition, Jasmine consults with healthcare professionals, law enforcement personnel, educators and nonprofit organizations. She advises on issues such as safe homes, program growth, curriculum development, survivor support and peer mentorship. Lastly, she is a member of the NSN (National Survivor Network).

Silent survivors, justice seekers and direct service providers are talking about Jasmine’s story of survival, faith and victory. People who were previously uneducated about human trafficking have chosen to support her efforts as a modern-day abolitionist because sex should never be called work.

Register here:  https://bit.ly/2ORagcj



6 Lessons We Can Learn from the Nassar Scandal

Posted in General by SaratogaCFF on Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 3:37 pm

Photo: Associated Press

Larry Nassar, former team doctor for Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, was convicted of multiple counts of first degree sexual misconduct and sentenced to up to 175 years in prison. Over the course of two decades, Nassar abused over 160 young women under the guise of medical treatment, including gold medalists McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, and Simone Biles. 156 of his victims gave impact statements prior to his sentencing.

Chief Prosecutor and Michigan State Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis said of the women, “They should feel no shame, because they did nothing wrong. He did. These little girls have transformed before our eyes from victims, to survivors, to champions for justice and advocates for change.”

So what can we – as parents, community members, service providers, mandatory reporters, and fellow humans – learn from this? What can we take away from this to ensure that the children in our communities are protected?

  1. When children report abuse, believe them.

In Nassar’s case, many of his victims had reported his behavior over the years, and the adults they trusted to protect them failed to put a stop to it. According to the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, it is estimated that only 4-8% of reports of abuse are fabricated, with the majority of those attributed to adults during custody disputes. When children confide in us, it is our duty to take action.

  1. Talk to your children.

It is never too early to talk to your children about their bodies and boundaries. High profile cases such as these can help open the door for discussion. Click here for more tips about how to start the conversation.

  1. You probably won’t be able to spot a child abuser.

On TV, perpetrators might be portrayed as “creeps.” In real life, they could be anyone – a trusted family member or friend, a football coach, a piano teacher, a doctor. A staggering 90% of children who are sexually abused know the perpetrator in some way. Child abuse does not happen simply because parents are not paying attention – it also happens because abusers earn their trust.


  1. Abusers are experts at grooming.

Grooming is the word used to describe the process that abusers typically follow before abusing a child. It involves identifying a target, earning their (and often their parent’s) trust, and isolating the child both physically and emotionally. Read more about the 6 stages of grooming.

  1. There is help.

If you suspect abuse or maltreatment of a child, report it now. Once a child’s safety has been secured, they can begin processing the trauma that they have experienced. Mental health therapy with a licensed, trained clinician has been shown to ease acceptance of what happened, reduce problematic symptoms, and encourage positive behaviors going forward. At Saratoga Center for the Family, our therapists are trained in evidence-based methods such as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Progressive Counting – all aimed to help clients process trauma and move forward in a positive, healthy way.

  1. There is hope.

Children who have been abused are not alone. According to the CDC, there were 683,000 victims of child abuse and neglect reported to Child Protective Services (CPS) in 2015. They are not destined to “repeat the cycle.” They are not broken. The Nassar case proves it – his victims went through horrific trauma, and still went on to win gold at the Olympics. Children are resilient. With the proper treatment and support, they can move forward from the trauma and go on to live happy, successful lives.

Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience

Posted in General by SaratogaCFF on Monday, November 20, 2017 at 11:20 am

Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience

By Paula L. Zimmerman, LMHC


Monday, November 20, 2017 is this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience. This day honors those whose lives were lost to violence against people who are transgender, and to respect and be supportive of the resilience that people who are transgender demonstrate. It is observed annually on November 20th, and it started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honor the memory of Rita Hester. Ms. Hester was a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The “Resilience” part of that title has recently been added to honor the ongoing strength that transgender people have.


According to “The Report of the APA Task Force on Gender Identity and Gender Variance”, published by the American Psychological Association, “Transgender is an umbrella term used to describe people whose gender identity (sense of themselves as male or female) or gender expression differs from that usually associated with their birth sex.” In my opinion, there has been progress in the general population’s understanding of what “transgender” means and progress in the love and support offered to those who are transgender. At the same time, there is a long way to go.


All I have to do is look on the feeds of the two social media accounts I have to see that there are still many people who do not understand nor appreciate people who are transgender. Now I certainly do not have all of the answers, and I can’t speak for others, but I am happy to have conversations with people who want to increase their knowledge and want to increase my knowledge. The keys to this is remembering to remain respectful, and to enter the conversation with an open mind and desire to help us all be kinder to each other. Meanwhile, these social media feeds also show that many people are loving and caring about transgender people.


I honor and respect transgender people who have worked so hard to raise awareness, who have stood up for what is right, and who have risked themselves to make this a better society. I support transgender people in their life journey. I support transgender people. I honor those who have lost their lives to violence against transgender people.


If you would like to have a conversation with me about this or anything else, my generally used pronouns are “she” and “her”. I would be fine with the pronouns “they”, “their”, “he”, and “his”.


I owe credit to the following sources for some of the information I have noted above:

  • American Psychological Association, “The Report of the APA Task Force on Gender Identity and Gender Variance”, (2009) p. 95
  • The Pride Center of the Capital Region website: www.capitalpridecenter.org
  • GLAAD website: www.glaad.org
  • Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Saratoga Springs website: www.uusaratoga.org


Posted in General by SaratogaCFF on Friday, August 11, 2017 at 2:29 pm

payton1 payton2

If you’ve visited our offices recently, you may have noticed some new signs on our front door and reception area.

Introducing the newest (and furriest) member of our SCFF staff, Payton!


Payton is a very sweet black Labrador retriever that has been professionally trained and has received certification through Therapy Dogs International. We are very excited to have her on the team!

Therapy animals can help with many things, including:

– clients who are struggling to “open up”
– reducing stress and anxiety in a session
– to assist in teaching social skills

Not a “dog person?” Not to worry. Payton will be kept in dedicated spaces to minimize unwanted interactions and for clients with allergies.

Clients who are interested in learning more can ask their therapists for more details and scheduling. Welcome to Saratoga Center for the Family, Payton!


Saratoga Center for the Family Lends Awareness to Child Abuse Prevention Month

Posted in General by SaratogaCFF on Thursday, April 6, 2017 at 10:00 am

Since 1983, the month of April has been designated as Child Abuse Prevention Month across the nation. Locally, Prevent Child Abuse flags will line Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs as a way of showing support and increasing local awareness. However, the agency highlighted on those flags, Saratoga Center for the Family, is committed to protecting children, preventing abuse, and strengthening families all year long.

The Center offers a wide variety of services including mental health counseling, victims’ services and advocacy, and educational and preventative programming. One upcoming program is Heel to Heal, which is a group for teenage girls that utilizes group counseling and walk/run based therapy to increase self-esteem and empowerment. The program begins its 6th season on April 19th and spans 10 weeks, concluding with the group completing a 5K goal race. “100% of our participants last year reported a decrease in depression and an increase in self-esteem,” shared Kelly Daugherty, Clinical Director and creator of the program. “The friendships, mentorship from our volunteers, and simply the act of achieving something they didn’t think they could – all have an incredible impact.”

Saratoga Center for the Family will also hold its annual event, “Celebrating the Power of Hope,” where it recognizes its donors, sponsors, and community partners for their continued support. This year’s dinner will be held on Thursday, April 27th, at Longfellow’s Restaurant (500 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs) from 6-9pm, and will feature an appearance from WNYT Meteorologist Jason Gough, who is a survivor of abuse. Rebecca Baldwin, Executive Director of the Center, praised Mr. Gough’s willingness to discuss such a difficult subject. “When someone like Jason makes the brave decision to come forward and share their story, it directly combats the stigmas associated with child abuse and its survivors. He paves the way for those hiding in the shadows to come forward and seek help, and eventually to heal. We are so pleased to have him as a part of our celebration of hope.”