A black and white photo of two men and two women in front of an old United Counseling Service sign. This appears to be taken in the 1960s or 70s

Our Mission

Building a stronger community by empowering individuals and families to live healthy and meaningful lives.

65 Years in the Making…

In May 1958 Bennington Family Service Center and the state-operated Bennington Child Guidance Clinic merged and established United Counseling Service of Bennington County, Inc. (UCS)

In 1961, UCS entered into a cooperative program with Putnam Memorial Hospital to develop a comprehensive mental health program where UCS psychologists and social workers provided a complete range of counseling services in cooperation with the hospital.

By 1971, UCS helped roughly 1,300 people per year, the annual budget was $260,000, with 35 staff. At the same time Head Start of Bennington County, a division of UCS, had been open for four years and expanded to offer full-day summer programs.

In 1993, UCS opened the Autumn House to provide developmental services in a group home setting. The Gatling House opened 6 years later.

Today, UCS operates 15 facilities across Bennington County and employs over 300 staff. The budget has grown to a multimillion dollar annual operating budget. This tremendous growth demonstrates real need in the community and our ability to respond to those needs. The growth of UCS programs and facilities reflects the process of deinstitutionalization in Vermont and nationwide.

In 2018, UCS became a certified Center of Excellence through Vermont Care Partners and the Jeffords Institute.

In 2019 and 2020, UCS was recognized by New England Newspapers as the best place to work and the best community organization.

In 2021, United Children’s Services in partnership with the Town of Bennington opened the Spring Center, significantly increasing the capacity for childcare and creating a gathering place for the community.


Who We Are Today

Today, our staff of 300 includes support workers, clinicians, nurses, teachers, case managers, psychiatrists, and others, who work within our 15 facilities to provide programs and services that support over 3,000 individuals annually. 

UCS provides outpatient counseling and addictions services, emergency mental-health services extensive rehabilitation services, home, community, and school-based services, employment services for people with a mental illness or a developmental disability, and early childhood services. 

UCS is proud to be part of Vermont Care Partners (VCP), a network of sixteen agencies that provide mental health, substance use disorder, and developmental-disability services and supports in every county in Vermont. VCP healthcare agencies are reshaping the ways that Vermonters stay well.

UCS is the Designated Agency for community mental health and developmental services in Bennington County. UCS is a private not-for-profit agency that contracts with the state of Vermont to provide high-quality cost-effective services to the community.  

In 1995, UCS changed its corporate structure. United Community Services, Inc. became the parent of three subsidiaries—United Counseling Service, Inc., United Children’s Services, Inc., and United Community Properties, Inc.

United Community Services provides long-range planning, community relations, fundraising, and general oversight of the subsidiaries. Its board of directors manages our endowment fund, which strengthens and supports all our services.

United Counseling Service provides mental health, developmental disability and substance use services. United Children’s Services consists of Bennington County Head Start/Early Head Start. United Community Properties provides property management services for our agency-owned properties. 

UCS is proud of the quality and the comprehensive array of services it provides.