The boards of directors of Great Circle and Butterfield Youth Services have approved a merger of their organizations effective Aug. 1. The announcement was made Monday at a town hall meeting in Marshall, where Butterfield Youth Services is located.

The boards of directors of Great Circle and Butterfield Youth Services have approved a merger of their organizations effective Aug. 1. The announcement was made Monday at a town hall meeting in Marshall, where Butterfield Youth Services is located.
Both agencies are known for providing innovative, caring services for children and families.
Great Circle, a statewide not-for-profit agency providing a wide spectrum of behavioral health services to children and families, was formed in 2009 with the merger of Boys & Girls Town of Missouri and Edgewood Children's Center. The agency has grown to employ more than 1,000 staff members, serving more than 21,000 children and individuals in 2014.
Great Circle has highly trained professionals who provide specialized services in areas of education, autism, intensive 24/7 treatment, in-home crisis intervention, foster care and adoption through campuses and community-based service locations in Branson, Columbia, Hillsboro, Lebanon, Kansas City, Kirksville, Springfield, Steelville, St. James, St. Joseph, St. Louis and Waynesville.
Butterfield Youth Services was founded in Marshall in 1963 by Tom Butterfield. Today, Butterfield Youth Services has grown to 100 employees and provides services to approximately 200 children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders in west central Missouri each year.    
An independent due diligence and financial review process of both organizations was completed earlier this spring with favorable results, allowing both parties to explore the benefits of combining forces to expand and make an even greater impact.
"We are honored to have Butterfield Youth Services become a part of the Great Circle family," said Vince Hillyer, president and chief executive officer of Great Circle, "and we are even more excited about our future together for Missouri's children and families."
"Great Circle and Butterfield Youth Services share like missions and rich histories," said Keith Bishop, executive director of Butterfield Youth Services. "As Butterfield looked how to deliver more and better services, it was obvious that Great Circle was a natural partner."  
Of Missouri's approximately 5.9 million residents, an estimated 223,000 adults and 65,000 children live with serious mental health conditions, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
"It is no secret that the needs for mental health services for children and families in Missouri are significant," Hillyer said. "Butterfield Youth Services has built high quality facilities that are positioned well to help expand services in west central Missouri. Our agencies will immediately begin a strategic planning process focused on community and regional behavioral health needs."
Both agencies are members of Missouri Alliance for Children and Families and Missouri Coalition for Children's Agencies.
"Butterfield has seen a need for expanded services to meet the mental health needs of individuals in the communities we serve," said Bishop. "Joining with Great Circle and its proven expertise in behavioral health will help make that happen much sooner," said Bishop.
Great Circle will retain its current board of directors and will add two members from the current Butterfield Youth Services board, which will dissolve after the merger. Those board members are yet to be named.
Great Circle will retain its executive leadership structure. Bishop and Bethany Harris, associate executive director, will be added to the leadership team.
All Butterfield staff members are expected to be retained as growth in programs and services is anticipated.
In honor of Tom Butterfield and in recognition of the legacy built by him and his family, Butterfield Youth Services will retain its name as it becomes a member of the Great Circle family.
The two organizations will work together in the coming months to determine how to best incorporate the names of the two organizations.