About Counselling and Family Service Ottawa

Counselling and Family Service Ottawa is a bilingual, non-profit organization that has been providing social services to our community since 1940. Today we offer a variety of counselling and support services to address a broad range of issues, from counselling survivors of partner violence to providing support to children who will be witnesses in court. Our goal is to help everyone – all genders, ages, ethnicities, faiths, abilities, and in all the ways that make each person unique – meet their immediate needs during times of crisis, while providing them with the skills to face future adversity.


CFS Ottawa was launched as a faith-based social services organization under the name Catholic Family Service Ottawa. In the early years, assistance was primarily practical, and focused on serving the Francophone community.


Our efforts evolved to providing assistance to those facing difficulties in marriage and parent/child relationships. In the years that followed we transitioned to delivering more counselling and support services.


CFS established a Family Violence Program, offering counselling and support services to women who suffered partner abuse and children who witnessed abuse. This expanded on our established practice of seeing victims of abuse in our counseling programs.


The New Directions program, for men who have been abusive to their woman partner, came to CFS. It was in many ways ahead of its time. It would not be until 2003 that the role of men and boys in advancing gender equality, including through preventing violence, would be identified as a focus at the United Nations.


With funding from the Ministry of Health, CFS developed a program for Francophone survivors of sexual violence. This resulted in the establishment of the Regional Francophone Sexual Assault Advisory Committee and the organizing of the first Francophone Provincial Conference on Adult Sexual Aubse.


The Child and Youth Witness Support Program, funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General was inaugurated. It is the only program in the province that is community-based. It supports children and youth required to provide testimony in court.


We moved to a new location in Vanier that offered better and larger facilities to support a growing range of services in the heart of Francophone Ottawa.


We were selected to coordinate and deliver the Province’s new program for men who are survivors of sexual abuse for Eastern Ontario.


We became one of five agencies in the Champlain Region to set up a walk-in counselling clinic where clients are served immediately on a first-come-first-served basis. This program is funded by Ontario Health, with Jewish Family Services as the lead agency, transferring funds to partners.


We celebrated our 75th year in service and our commitment to healthy individuals, families and communities.


Reflecting our more inclusive mandate, we changed our name to Counselling and Family Service Ottawa.


Our building was dedicated to Franca DiDiomete. Franca joined CFS in 1982 and became its Executive Director in 1995 until spring 2021. Under her leadership, we grew substantially and cemented our role as a leader in the community.


Today we offer a variety of counselling and support services to address a broad range of issues. Services are provided to everyone, in French and English, regardless of religion, race, culture, gender, ability, sexual orientation, or sexual identity.

We believe that all humans are in relationship with others, and we (CFS Ottawa), embody the commitment to nurture, in justice and love, the community life of the whole society.

We believe that strong and healthy families lead to strong and healthy communities.

We believe that clients must be our primary consideration.

We believe that the French speaking population of Ottawa has the right of access to a complete range of quality social services in French.

We believe in empowering women to have a voice, to exercise control over their lives, and to participate equally in all aspects of society.

We believe that children and adolescents merit particular attention.

We believe in the value, uniqueness, and dignity of all persons.

We believe that diversity brings strength, insight and richness to our community and to our agency.

We believe in actively working to bring about change that improves people’s full participation in society.

We believe that to serve our community effectively, we must respond to new ideas and emerging needs.

We believe in a solution focussed approach based on client strengths.

We believe that clients and former clients have an important contribution to make to the agency.

We believe that we must be responsible to the community.

Our funders

We are grateful for the funding we receive from:

National Defence Logo
City of Ottawa Logo
Government of Ontario logo
Franny's Fund logo