Since 1975, Birch Family Services has served over 20,000 people with autism and developmental disabilities and their families throughout New York City. We have grown from a single classroom to a provider of educational and long-term supports in 30 locations in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.

Our programs have expanded over the years and now include a wide array of individualized, person-centered services. Birch’s programs have helped people with autism and developmental disabilities and their families navigate significant transitions across the life cycle for more than 40 years. Throughout our history, we have demonstrated the ability to provide quality programs that support the individual needs of children, adolescents, and adults so that they can reach their full potential.

Expanding Our Footprint and Our Services

Birch Family Services launched its residential services in 1979 and through partnership with government funders now has a significant network of services for individuals who have autism and developmental disabilities, including those who present behavioral or medical challenges and individuals who are generally underserved. Historically, Birch has been at the forefront of helping people with developmental disabilities accomplish their individual goals.

Birch’s history includes the following accomplishments:

  • Launching some of New York’s first special-education schools, preschools, and early intervention services.
  • Pioneering a fully-integrated model to deliver education, therapy services, and family support.
  • Creating small, community-based residences to help enable the closure of Willowbrook State School.
  • Opening the first East Coast residence for babies born with HIV/AIDS and the first family camp for pediatric AIDS patients.
  • Raising awareness about autism spectrum disorders, at a time when the diagnosis rate was a fraction of what it is today.
  • Introducing current research based methodologies to support individuals with autism to New York and replicating it widely through the Birch Training Institute.
  • Opening a Children’s Residential Program for adolescents with autism who require a 24-hour educational/residential program.
  • Offering a program to individuals on the autism spectrum over the age of 21 to support their transition into adulthood in the areas of socialization, employment, and independent living.

Now that you know our history, why not become part of our future?

When you become a corporate partner, volunteer, or make a financial contribution to our General Fund, you help the individuals we serve reach their fullest potential through education and individualized programs that offer support and practical, supportive services across the lifespan. Here are some of the ways you can help: