History of KC Center

The KC Center for Family & Organizational Systems, (DBA, KC Center for Family Systems) was co-founded in 1996 by Margaret Otto, MSW and Kathy Riordan, MSW for the purposed of representing, applying, and expanding Bowen family systems theory in the regional area. Margaret Otto has been the Director since its inception with Kathy Riordan served as Associate Director until 2015. It was originally called the “Center for Family Health” and has remained at the original location on the Maple Woods Community College campus since its beginning in 1996.

Historical Timeline


Margaret Otto, MSW and Kathy Riordan, MSW co-found the KC Center for Family and Organizational Systems (DBA, KC Center for Family Systems).


The Postgraduate Education & Training Series is initiated.


The first annual Heartland Conference and Postgraduate Seminar takes place.


The KC Center obtains 501(c)(3) status. The lunchtime video series begins.


The first annual clinical conference was held, which was later named Open Classroom Conference. The KC Center is vetted into the National Network Seminar sponsored by the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family in Washington, DC.


The KC Center’s website is built (kcfamilysystems.com).  The lunchtime video series becomes Videos for Viewing using the video library for this series.  A part-time administrative assistant is hired for the organization.


The KC Center is asked to collaborate with Healthy Families on a 5 year federal grant to provide education about families and to conduct family evaluations.


A capacity grant to upgrade the Center’s technology is obtained from the Kauffman Foundation. The tech upgrade increased internal efficiency and allowed program information to be communicated using online software, including the Webcast Lecture Series with Michael Kerr, MD.  The KC Center began participating in monthly theory meetings sponsored by the Bowen Center. The voluminous donated and purchased Audio and Visual Materials are catalogued.


The KC Center website domain is changed from kcfamilysystems.com to kcfamilysystems.org.


A database composed of descriptive variables obtained from the federal grant is created for research purposes. The first master’s level practicum student assists the KC Center.


The Family Research Data from the federal grant is presented nationally.


For the first time, the Heartland Conference is expanded and includes a panel of local physicians.  Donations are received and enable additional support for part time administrative assistant, scholarships for Education & Training Series participants, and technology improvements.


The first annual Summer Conference is held with guest presenter Kathleen B. Kerr, MSN, MA, CNS.


The KC Center begins to acquire bids for a website re-design to be completed in 2015.


The re-designed KC Center website is launched.


The KC Center receives a donation from The Poynter Family Fund through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.