About Us

"FamilyLight" is the trade name or DBA name of Thomas J. Croke and Associates, Inc., a Pennsylvania business corporation.  This business was incorporated in 1990, originally as a marketing company, representing western treatment programs attempting to reach an eastern market.   Tom Croke, consultant and president of the corporation, had been working since 1968 in positions that involved guiding people toward educational and/ or therapeutic resources.  Since 1985 he had been involved in marketing of substance abuse and mental health programs, and was very successful doing so, with a personal standard of only encouraging admissions to the facilities he represented when he conscientiously believed they were the best option available (not they usual way that is done).

We believe we provide the most intensive service available in our field, with fees that are not any higher than most others providing a less intensive service. Many consultants work with parents with the kinds of concerns we address.  How are we different?  We intentionally limit the number of private clients we work with and then provide a more intensive service than we think is available anywhere else.  Most of our clients are not just looking for referrals but depend upon us heavily for parent/family coaching.

Most of our clients expect to pay out of pocket for services as needed without any outside financial assistance. Some of our clients get some help from insurance. Some get help from public schools through IDEA and other provisions for students with handicapping conditions or other special needs.

Since 1993 FamilyLight has been providing services individually to families wanting hands-on personal guidance through this process. Now we are also developing an on-line service for families who want to be guided only by the Internet.

We believe that we provide our clients with the most intensive support of any consultant or consulting firm.  We believe this sets us apart from virtually all others in this business.

By 1992, due to a recession, arrival of managed care in the insurance industry, and changes in the climate of working with referral sources, it became clear that this style of marketing would no longer generate necessary income.  As a result, Thomas J. Croke and Associates, Inc., terminated all marketing contracts as of the end of 1992 and began 1993 strictly as consulting firm to families.

Shortly after that, we began a newsletter, Bridge to Understanding, which evolved into a website.  Bridge to Understanding published items of interest to the field including program descriptions and a complex directory.  Our practice expanded to having three fulltime Family Coordinators assisting with Tom's consulting practice. During that time we coined the FamilyLight name, so Thomas J. Croke and Associates, Inc. operated two brands, FamilyLight Consulting, and Bridge to Understanding Publishing.

The fall of 2001 disaster struck.  We had an embezzlement just at the time the recession of 2001 struck.  We had to downsize.  Bridge to Understanding was discontinued, although the website with old information stayed up until we felt we were misleading people with stale information, so we took it down.

Tom's wife Helen became a family coordinator and Jody Adams, former Family Coordinator became part time Business Manager.  In 2008, we started to deliver some of the features of Bridge to Understanding on the FamilyLight website under "Programs and More."

We believe we have become the consulting service providing the most intensive personal service available for people with special needs. We now (February 2016) are putting most of our time and energy into a small number of private clients who need ongoing family coaching and not just choice of school or program. We put the remainder of our time into development of this website and Virtual Consultant.

Several pages on this website tell part of the story "About" FamilyLight and Virtual Consultant. Our original expectation when we started the "New Format" of this website was that would continue the organization of the website from the old format.  But as we grew, we came to realize that this organization was confusing to our readers. Our problem:  if we try to re-do this completely, we break links that are important.  Our solution:  Create new pages where they will help to make this website more user friendly. This solution creates redundancy.  The following links go to pages that might also be thought of as "about" pages:

This page (About Us)  puts emphasis on the history of Family Light.

About holds very general information.  Most of what is on that page is duplicated here.  The page linked here was created so that readers would have have "about" information linked from horizontal menu across the top of every page.  The page you are on was here first, reflecting the original organization of the New Format website, following the pattern of the Old Format.

Consultant Services This page gives a brief overview of our in-person consulting service along with links that give further detail.  If you are considering in-person consulting, we urge you to read that page and pages linked at that bottom of that page.

Home   Very general introduction to the websites(s) and our practice.

Meeting Special Needs  This was originally intended to transition from the Old Format to the New Format. If you relied on the Old Format and understood how it worked you will find this helpful. If you are seeking individual in-person guidance, we suggest you also look at Consultant Services  (See Above)  and the pages linked from there.  If you are looking into "do it yourself" planning, we suggest you go to Virtual Consultant, next line down.

Virtual Consultant If you want either to do a "do it yourself" approach to getting help for a loved one but also tap into our knowledge, or supplement professional advice as you attempt to resolve the issues of a family member, this page gives you a detailed outline of what we have to offer those who use only our online services and what we plan for the future. 

Organization of these Websites  This is about the websites themselves -- not about the contents or our consulting work.

Moving ahead:

Meet Our Consultant          

Individual Services of Family Light   (for in person consultant support)

Virtual Consultant  (resources for the Do-It-Yourself family)

Please read our full disclaimer. You are responsible for verifying our information before acting on it.


Anyone  can write anything about anyone on the web.  
If you see troubling information about a school or program or a professional, call  the organization or the person being attacked to learn what they have so say.  The person you call will appreciate the call.  After you have heard all sides make your decision. If you just avoid services under attack without checking it out, you may miss a great opportunity.  Decisions are best made by considering multiple opinions.  That is true even where our opinions are at issue. You will note that when we know of credible people disagreeing with our opinion we often point that out on this website.

Last Updated April 22, 2017

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