Our History

Fr. Pat O’Byrne founded Catholic Family Service (CFS) in 1957 to serve individuals and families of all faiths and cultures in the Calgary community. One of the first professionally-trained social workers in Calgary, Fr. Pat set an immediate standard of excellence in service to Calgarians. Our commitment to welcome everyone continues today.

Counselling services have been a mainstay at CFS since our inception. The belief that the benefits of counselling should be available to everyone regardless of income still holds true, which is why our counselling fees are based on what people feel they can afford to pay.

In 1970, we partnered with the Calgary Board of Education to offer services to pregnant and parenting teens – the origins of the Louise Dean Centre. Recognizing that education was critical to breaking the cycle of poverty, the programs at the Louise Dean Centre ensured (and continue to ensure) that pregnant and parenting young women had the opportunity to complete their high school education while learning to be the best parents they could be.

Implementing new and innovative programming has been an important factor in ensuring our services remain relevant to the community. A wide range of community-based programs have been introduced throughout our history, such as the Families and Schools Together Program (implemented in 1996), that helps facilitate stronger bonds not just within families, but between families and school systems.

We continue to address gaps in service and meet the needs of under-served populations. In 2015, we launched Fathers Moving Forward, a first-of-its-kind program that works with young dads (under the age of 24) to develop the skills to parent and co-parent well. Fathers Moving Forward is an example of how we ‘walk our talk’; fathers aren’t optional when it comes to building strong families.

Our 60-year history reveals a determination to offer affordable, innovative services that break the cycle of vulnerability and strengthen families and communities.

Read about our remarkable history here.

“I attended Louise Dean Centre for one semester in the Fall of 1971. I was 17 and pregnant. To any teenager in the same situation today, I would say that education is paramount to any happiness, success, self-awareness and confidence you will have in your life. Today I am very proud that my daughter works with Catholic Family Service as a consulting psychiatrist. I am so happy that she is able to give back to the organization that helped me when I needed it the most.”


Yes, you can start a conversation with us today . . .