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Great Circle and Ozark Family Resource Agency Merging

Agencies Combine to Deliver Broader Spectrum of Care for Southeast Missouri Families

Great Circle and Ozark Family Resource Agency Merging

(St. Louis, November 16, 2017) – Today, the board of directors of Great Circle and Ozark Family Resource Agency (OFRA) announced a merger of their agencies to rapidly expand programs and services for vulnerable children and families throughout southeast Missouri. The merger and programmatic transitions take effect immediately. 

Great Circle and OFRA share complementary missions and a long-standing commitment to strengthening Missouri’s children and families. Great Circle is a comprehensive statewide nonprofit that provides a wide spectrum of behavioral health care to children and families. A regional agency, OFRA provides emergency shelter and other child and family-focused services in times of crisis, and operates Ozark Foothills Child Advocacy Center, one of only 16 child assessment centers in the state.

Dr. Kelly Wilkerson-Dullenty, chair of OFRA’s board of directors, says high priority has been given during the merger process to ensure families continue to receive services. “In fact, the merger will strengthen current programs and lead to more comprehensive behavioral health services to both existing and new clients in Butler, Carter, Oregon, Reynolds, Ripley, Shannon and Wayne counties. This is a great day for area children and families,” she said.

“Those we serve inspire us daily as we help them create positive change in their lives,” she added. “The decision to become a part of Great Circle allows for a better response to the changing and emerging needs of those we serve. This will make a very positive and lasting difference for citizens in southeast Missouri.”

OFRA was founded in Doniphan in 2002 as Ripley County Family Resource Center on the vision of local social worker Diane Silman. It was renamed in 2008 to better reflect the regional nature of its work. The area’s needs are substantial – the number of child abuse or neglect cases ranks above the state average as does the number of children living in poverty. The number of children hospitalized for behavioral health issues also has risen, according to state statistics.

“We are honored to have OFRA join the Great Circle family,” said Vince Hillyer, Great Circle’s president and chief executive officer. “Clearly, OFRA’s staff and board members are dedicated to empowering area families and children, and we are anxious to expand their efforts by bringing Great Circle’s expertise to southeast Missouri.”

That expertise includes providing family support and parent education, psychological services, 24-hour specialized care, autism services and education. Prior to the merger, the agency had 18 locations across Missouri, including centralized services on its Columbia, Marshall, Springfield, St. James and St. Louis campuses. With a staff of about 1,400 statewide, Great Circle expects to serve more than 32,000 children and individuals in 2017.

OFRA’s current offices in Doniphan and Poplar Bluff will continue to serve as service hubs for Great Circle. Under the merger, Ozark Foothills Child Advocacy Center will retain its name. All other OFRA facilities will incorporate Great Circle’s name.

Mental health is a critical component of overall health and addressing proper mental health needs is essential in creating an adequate safety net for vulnerable children and families, Hillyer said. “Adverse childhood experiences, known as ACEs, can have a lifelong impact on children, which in turn impacts families and entire communities,” he said. Studies have shown that the more adverse events that occur – such as extreme family instability, homelessness, poverty, family violence and substance abuse – the more likely children are to suffer as adults from behavioral health issues and health challenges, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

“Families in our community deserve access to both strong medical and mental health care,” Wilkerson-Dullenty adds. “By bringing Great Circle’s strengths and passionate care to southeast Missouri, we can better guide those in circumstances beyond their control toward a place where they can thrive.”

Consolidating forces is a common trend in an ever-changing healthcare environment as providers explore better and more efficient ways to deliver services with greater impact. An independent due diligence and financial review process has been completed by both organizations.