Mission & History


Enhancing the capability of agencies, communities and state systems of care in the implementation of proven evidence-based programs to better address the needs of families in crisis.


President's Note

Welcome to the Family Centered Treatment Foundation. We represent a rare mix!

Click to watch: Dr. John Sullivan discusses the origins of the FCT Foundation and Family Centered Treatment Model.

  • A group driven by Entrepreneurial spirit;
  • A nonprofit business model focused solely on the social good;
  • A comprehensive therapy model that is supported by rigorous research and recognized as an Evidence Based Practice;
  • A pragmatic common sense approach developed by front line practitioners in challenging real world situations.

I am dedicated to our mission as one of the driving forces in my life. The Foundation was created for the purpose of providing a comprehensive evidence based model that is driven by service. There are no investors and all proceeds go toward improving the Foundation and its services. The Foundation offers cost effective alternatives for those wishing to provide state of the art services to families and children.

I hope you enjoy learning more about FCT as you examine our web site.

Dr. John P Sullivan



Family Centered Treatment (FCT) origins derive from practitioners’ efforts to find simple, practical and common sense solutions for families faced with:  1) forced removal of their children from the home, or 2) dissolution of the family due to external and internal stressors and circumstances.

A distinguished practice grew out of a desire and mission to create opportunity for change for families that were seemingly stuck in a downward spiral. The approach used is both distinct yet grounded, in the use of treatment components that were sound and research based. FCT did not begin in a University with theories, but grew daily as therapists in the field had to come up with options for difficult situations in the life space of their client families.

From its humble beginnings in the late 1980’s, and the formation of the foundation, the early practice of what would become Family Centered Treatment proved highly effective. One of the main reasons that FCT has become so applicable to so many populations is that only the most challenging cases were referred to us in the early days. At that time there was only funding for youth who had been determined to be in need of placement out of the home and community. These children and youth were to be placed in institutional settings such juvenile jails, psychiatric hospitals and residential treatment facilities. The Institute for Family Centered Services, Inc. co-founder John Sullivan PhD and his colleagues sought to bring concepts and tenets of practice that were successful in working with youth in residential facilities and apply them to the home and community.

These tenets emphasized expecting and demanding greatness while living and modeling dignity and respect. Practical skills and useful guidance were essential to forming a partnership with these families. The model evolved and was continually adapted for maximum impact in a family’s home environment. This family centered belief led to the founding of a non-traditional service agency whose foundation was based on this approach.

The first referrals were from the juvenile justice system. These were soon followed by social services and mental health agencies. By the early 90’s, word of mouth spread our services to multiple states. After a featured spot on the CBS news program “Eye on America” with Dan Rather, which brought national attention to the treatment approach, more agencies and locations became eager to try it. Reports and studies about success with families historically defined as “resistant to services,” resulted in continued growth.

Emphasis on mission—not on profit—meant that resources were directed toward improving internal operations and thus improving the practice. By the early 2000’s, Family Centered Treatment had spread to seven states, and today we continue to grow.