Our History

Making a Difference for More Than 40 Years

From its humble beginning as a single center in Lower Kensington, NET has grown into one of the largest behavioral health and social services agencies in both the state of Delaware and the Greater Philadelphia region. It continues to seek out unmet needs among the populations of Pennsylvania and Delaware and serve those populations with high-quality and innovative services.


  • The Lower Kensington Environmental Center develops an alternative school in Philadelphia for youth unable to thrive in a traditional public school setting. When the center goes into receivership, Lawrence J. Devlin, NET’s current Chairman of the Board, is appointed receiver; he hires Terence McSherry, now NET President and CEO, to serve as Acting Executive Director.


  • The Firehouse and Wharton Programs open to provide long-term therapeutic communities for adults in Philadelphia.
  • Bridge Street facility is purchased.
  • The Crisis Center, Solvent Abuse Program and Alcohol Program are developed to serve community needs.


  • Youth Service Division is created to manage long- and short-term group homes for dependent and delinquent youth in Philadelphia.


  • NET assumes a 28-day Residential Program contract and Detoxification Facilities on Delaware State Hospital grounds to provide services for Delaware State Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs.


  • Recovery Center of Delaware opens to offer specialized residential services to the public and private sector.
  • Kirkwood Detoxification Center opens.


  • Youth Services Division implements short-term, community-based services.
  • Satellite Program provides specialized foster care in Philadelphia.


  • Assertive Community Treatment Program, developed with University of Delaware and funded by NIDA, offers intensive treatment services to parolees in Delaware.
  • Foster Care Services for dependent and abused children, including infants and toddlers, is first introduced.


  • Juvenile Justice Treatment Services (JJTS) and Children and Youth Dependent Services (CYDS) are incorporated into restructured Youth Services Division.


  • Mental Health Outpatient Services added for youths and families involved with JJTS and CYDS.
  • Treatment Foster Families Program is developed to specifically deal with young people with special needs.


  • Youth Services Division adds licensed outpatient mental health clinic to its continuum of care.
  • Forensic Intensive Recovery Program initiated in Pennsylvania to help reduce prison population.


  • Managed Care Readiness Initiative starts.


  • NET begins to provide EPSDT Wrap-Around Services to children in their home and/or at school.
  • Firehouse Rehabilitation Program reopens for adolescent males awaiting judicial disposition.
  • Ambulatory Medical Stabilization Program inaugurated in Pennsylvania.
  • NET included in list of top 25 nonprofit health care and social service agencies in the Delaware Valley.


  • Outpatient services expand to include outpatient psychiatric clinic, intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment and community outreach to youth.
  • 499 N. 5th Street site is purchased and expansion is planned.


  • Spring Garden Building renovations increase space for administrative, social service and treatment facilities.
  • Ambulatory Medical Stabilization Program expands to all sites in Delaware and Pennsylvania.


  • Children’s Behavioral Health Services expands into Philadelphia public schools and shelters.
  • NET wins “Agency of the Year” award at Delaware Association of Alcoholism Counselors’ Conference.


  • MANOS program expands NET’s substance abuse and supportive services into minority communities in North Philadelphia.
  • Making My Way, an Independent Living Skills Program/Family-Based Recovery Project, debuts.


  • NET Wharton Center develops a variable length of stay program for the dually diagnosed patient.
  • NET and the West Chester University Graduate School of Social Work jointly sponsor major workshops at the Training Center of NET.


  • Delaware Adult Behavioral Health Services develop Children, Youth and Family Services in Delaware.
  • Delaware receives grant renewals for its Family Recovery Project, Victims Project and Independent Living Program.


  • NET Steps Pharmacotherapy Services expands the continuum of care system.
  • NET begins to provide Adoption Services in Southeastern Pennsylvania.


  • NET Steps offers pharmacotherapy services to the Philadelphia Prison System.


  • Children and Youth Dependent Services becomes an affiliate chapter of Parents Anonymous.
  • NET Clubhouse opens.
  • NET Steps chosen as 1 of only 7 provider sites to participate in an NIDA-sponsored Clinical
  • Trials Network protocol on the use of buprenorphine.


  • NET’s mural, “The Value of Family” is dedicated.
  • The Family-Focused Behavioral Health Program and the Adolescent Violence Reduction Partnership (AVRP) are introduced.


  • NET establishes its Consumer Council and the Consumer Recognition Ceremony.
  • A new Recovery Support Center is opened on Frankford Avenue in Philadelphia.
  • NET acquires and begins operating Henry House, a community-based residential detention facility for adolescent females.


  • NET begins an affiliation with the Child Abuse Prevention Network (CAPE) in Northeast Philadelphia.


  • NET becomes one of the contractors for the In-Home Protective Services (IHPS) program with the opening of an office/services site in Northeast Philadelphia.


  • NET acquires Riverside Care, a provider of outpatient substance abuse treatment in Philadelphia, Easton and Bethlehem.


  • NET’s Foster Care and Permanency Services expands its services and moves into its new home at 458 N. 2nd Street.
  • Delaware Children’s Behavioral Health Services is chosen to be the state’s sole provider of Individualized Residential Treatment (IRT), a treatment foster care model.