You’ve got us where you want us.

NRFS Map Counties 2018 WEB

Our 1,400-strong workforce provides life changing care for more than 14,000 children, adults and families in 36 counties, working out of 28 office locations and in the communities.

Office Locations
Albany County
Broome County
Columbia County
Franklin County
Fulton County
Greene County
Orange County
Otsego County
Rensselaer County
Saratoga County
Schenectady County
Ulster County
Warren County
Washington County



A tale of two cities.

And one community of caring.

To talk about the history of Northern Rivers Family of Services is to talk about the history of caring for children and families throughout the Capital Region and beyond. Our roots are in the agencies known today as Parsons Child and Family Center and Northeast Parent & Child Society—agencies that were each created from a need to help children and continued to evolve to meet that need.

In 1829 Orissa Healey and Eliza Wilcox founded the Ladies Orphan Society, and within a year the renamed Society for the Relief of Orphan and Destitute Children in the City of Albany was caring for 130 children. By the early 1890s, some 600 children lived and learned at what was then known as the Albany Orphan Asylum.
Meanwhile, in 1888 a group of concerned women in Schenectady formed The Home for Destitute Children, which later became The Children’s Home of Schenectady. The early 1900s saw the formation of a county Humane Society to protect and care for needy families not served by the Children’s Home.

Back in Albany, the Orphan Asylum became known as the Albany Home for Children and evolved to incorporate modern social work, cottage-style residential living, therapeutic services and additional programs to meet the changing needs of the community. In 1976 the Home became known as Parsons Child and Family Center, continuing to expand its geographic and programmatic reach wherever the need arose.

In Schenectady the Children’s Home and Humane Society each expanded their programs to better aid those dealing with abuse, neglect and other barriers to success. In 1983 the agencies came together to form Northeast Parent & Child Society and grew their services to meet the challenges of children, families and communities.

In 2012 these two great organizations officially affiliated and now stand together under the new Northern Rivers Family of Services. The proud traditions of Parsons and Northeast continue under a shared set of core principles and a universal commitment to serving children and families, while Northern Rivers provides the guidance and leadership to help communities grow.

Today, the united workforce of Northern Rivers, Parsons and Northeast represents the dedication of those who came before, an unmatched level of talent and drive, and the vision needed to change the way services are delivered to help build a better world.

Our leadership

Bill GettmanWilliam T. (Bill) Gettman, Jr., MPA
Chief Executive Officer, Northern Rivers Family of Services

William T. (Bill) Gettman, Jr., joined Northern Rivers Family of Services as Chief Executive Officer in 2016. At a time when the organization enters a period of transformative change, he is responsible for the development and construction of a system of care that determines how Northern Rivers and its member agencies, Northeast Parent & Child Society and Parsons Child & Family Center, care for children, adults and families. He provides strategic guidance, infrastructure oversight and administrative leadership to the 1,400-strong workforce.

Gettman brings more than 30 years of executive management experience in nonprofit, private, and public sector organizations. Before joining Northern Rivers, he served as Executive Director of St. Catherine’s Center for Children in Albany. Previously he was the Executive Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer for the NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). He has also held leadership positions for private and public sector organizations focused on providing child welfare services and programs, including MAXIMUS, the New York State Child Support Processing Center (formerly Lockheed Martin IMS), the New York State Department of Social Services and UNISYS Corporation.

He serves as chairman of the New York State Justice Center Advisory Council. He is a member of the New York State Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council and the Albany County Homeless Coalition. He is treasurer and board member of the State Children’s Mental Health Coalition and serves on the Board of Directors of the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies (COFCCA).

Gettman earned his bachelor’s degree in religion from Ohio Wesleyan University and his Master of Public Administration from Syracuse University. [Printable Version]


NEW LaFrenier Audrey 2016 photoAudrey LaFrenier, LCSW-R
President and Chief Operating Officer, Northern Rivers Family of Services

Audrey LaFrenier serves as President and Chief Operating Officer for Northern Rivers Family of Services. In this role, she oversees the delivery of services to more than 11,000 children and families across thirty-seven counties in New York State each year.

Upon the creation of Northern Rivers Family of Services in 2012, Ms. LaFrenier served as Chief of Services, overseeing client services at member agencies Northeast Parent & Child Society and Parsons Child & Family Center. She became an inaugural member of the organization’s Executive Leadership Team, responsible for the mission-driven guidance of the agencies.

Prior to her current role, Ms. LaFrenier was Chief of Services at Parsons Child & Family Center when the agency affiliated under Northern Rivers. She has held various leadership roles at Parsons where she, as a professional social worker, built her career caring for children and families.

She earned her master’s degree in Social Work from the University at Albany and her bachelor’s degree in Education and Early Childhood Development from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. [Printable Version]

Core Principles

Core principles

Cultural Competence

“Culture” implies a pattern of human behavior, including thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, and values of a racial, ethnic, religious, sexual, gender based, work group or social group. “Competence” implies the ability to function and interact effectively. Cultural competence incorporates culture, assesses cross cultural relations, attends to the effects of cross cultural differences, increases cultural knowledge, and adapts to meet the needs of those with culturally unique needs.

Family & Youth Driven

We believe that the experience of the families, youth and children we serve must always be our measure of success. As such, it is the family/youth that truly measures the impact of our service for them and is a partnership with the families we serve. This creates an environment driven by families/youth that values and seeks out the experience of the families/youth engaged in our service and every time they come into contact with Northern Rivers and its members.

Strength Based

Individuals have strengths, resources, and the ability to recover from adversity. A strength based approach focuses on opportunities, hope, and solutions. It emphasizes developing skills, abilities, and positive attributes rather than the diminution of negative attributes. We assume individuals have the ability to help themselves. We see beyond the behaviors and characteristics of others, in particular children, youth and families, to support the potential of what can be.


Physical safety is the ability to recognize and avoid danger, express feelings appropriately, and engage in practices that are consistent with good physical health. Social safety means feeling accepted for who you are. Boundaries are respected and people care about how you feel. Emotional safety means being free of shame and humiliation and having a sense of self control and self-efficacy. Ethical safety means you can trust that what people tell you is the truth and decisions are made out of a sense of justice rather than self-interest.

Trauma Informed

Adverse experiences may have a negative effect on one’s ability to be successful. Trauma informed approaches assess for the impact of trauma. These approaches also support the use of strategies and interventions and in creating environments which help achieve safety, manage emotions, and develop healthy relationships. Trauma informed care focuses on understanding and healing from loss, promoting and supporting self-care and wellness, and working toward a positive and productive future.

Board of Directors

Board of Directors
2019 – 2020


  • Justin Priddle
  • Rose Miller
        Vice Chair
  • Susan Evans, CPA
  • John J. Malone
  • Kim Phelan
        Chair Emeritus

Board Members

  • Rose Mary Bailly, Esq.
  • Katharine Briar-Lawson
  • David Cost
  • Angela S. Dixon
  • Robert McMahon
  • Ferdinand Morales
  • Angelicia Morris
  • Janelle Scrivens
  • Michele T. Sweeney
  • JoAnn Smith
  • Jesse A. Tomczak
  • Lisa M. Wickens-Alteri

About us

One family helping many families thrive.

Founded where the Mohawk and Hudson meet, like the rivers that shaped our region, Northern Rivers Family of Services empowers children, adults, and families to change their lives and build stronger communities. Comprised of parent company Northern Rivers and member agencies Northeast Parent & Child Society, Parsons Child & Family Center, and Unlimited Potential, we are a family of human services agencies providing help and hope to those who struggle with abuse, neglect, trauma, mental health challenges, educational difficulties, career training and employment, and service navigation through an innovative continuum of home-, clinic-, school,- community- based, vocational rehabilitative, supported employment, and senior-supporting programs that provide person-centered, trauma-informed innovative solutions to ensure clients live their best lives. Our quality of care, dedication to best practices, vast knowledge and experience and passion for our work make us a leading human services provider. Informed by our 190-year heritage, our 1,400-strong workforce provides services for 16,000 children, adults, and families throughout 41 counties in New York state. For more information, call 518.426.2600 or visit

Mission: Empowering children, adults, and families to change their lives and build stronger communities.

Vision: Northern Rivers leads the way in providing coordinated, innovative, comprehensive, and responsible delivery of human services.

Values: Northern Rivers is guided by a set of universally accepted principles that guide the actions of every member of our family. We organize these values through the acronym HOPE: Honor: To help others is the highest calling; we strive to do what is right for those in our care; Optimism: We believe things can get better if we work together, aim higher, and set meaningful goals; Progress: Every day provides an opportunity to improve, and we promise to continue striving; Excellence: We hold ourselves to the highest standards, because our communities deserve the best from us.

Core Principles: Every member of the Northern Rivers family is guided by a set of five core principles that guide the way we treat our clients and each other: cultural competence, family- and youth-driven, strengths-based, safety, and trauma-informed. 

Limited English Proficiency (LEP) of Language Assistance Services
Northern Rivers will provide language assistance services, free of charge, when necessary to provide meaningful access to whose primary language is not English. Contact Quality Management at 518.426.2600.
Si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística.  Llame Quality Management at 518.426.2600.
Notice of Privacy Practices: English / Spanish
Client Rights and Grievance Procedures: English / Spanish