CHS Blog

Family Resource Centers

Family Resource Centers
Posted on January 23, 2018 by CHS

A family resource center (FRC) is a place where families can go to seek supportive services in their community. Strong families are the foundation of a healthy neighborhood, and FRCs support healthy neighborhoods and build strong families by providing a wide range of resources, services, and activities for vulnerable and low-income families. In doing so, FRCs help families overcome social, economic, and educational challenges, and help parents gain access to the skills, resources, and knowledge they need to provide a solid foundation for their children to thrive. Families can experience a range of positive outcomes as a result of this support, such as: improved economic security, reduced risk for child abuse and neglect, lower rates of substance abuse, and reduced food and housing insecurity. FRCs use evidence-based and best practice prevention and early intervention strategies to achieve these outcomes.

FRCs can be found as stand-alone organizations in the community, or they can be connected to schools, health centers, or other locations. Some FRCs can also have their own networks dedicated to supporting families with specific needs, such as the Early Start Family Resource Centers, which provide services to children with exceptional needs and their families. No matter how FRCs are structured, they offer a warm, welcoming, and safe environment where families can bring their children, relax, and socialize with staff and other parents.. Some of the many services FRCs might offer include: parenting classes, school readiness programs, referrals and help accessing programs for basic needs (healthcare, child care, housing, cash aid, and nutrition assistance programs), clothing, employment resources, job readiness, family economic development, financial counseling, tax preparation, referrals for legal support, domestic violence organizations, immigration resources, opportunities for civic engagement, counseling and crisis intervention, home visiting, health services, health education, youth development activities, and community development activities. Many FRCs also offer various clubs for adults or playgroups for children. They commonly have a focus on family-centered programs and cultural competence.

Partnerships: FRCs often collaborate with a number of other organizations to broaden their scope of services and serve the many different needs of families. Some may also collaborate formally with government agencies and local nonprofit organizations. In some cases, staff from other organizations may also be present at the FRC. In other cases, these partnerships provide an enhanced referral system where FRC staff can ensure that the experience of the family in accessing other referred services is as easy as possible.

The Strengthening Families Approach, the Five Protective Factors, and the Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening and Support: Many FRCs have adopted the Strengthening Families model as the foundation for their programs and approach to service delivery. Research shows that the Strengthening Families Approach reduces child abuse and neglect in at-risk families by building the Five Protective Factors: knowledge of parenting and child development, social connections, concrete support in times of need, parental resilience, and social and emotional competence of children. Many FRCs also use the Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening and Support. The Standards provide a framework for FRCs to evaluate their use of best practices and improve their programs.

Associations:  There are several state and national organizations that support family resource centers. They include:

Local Networks: There are many county-level networks of family resource centers and other family strengthening organizations. These organizations can help families locate their local FRCs.

The Children’s Home Society of California Oakland Family Resource Center: Children’s Home Society of California (CHS) has one family resource center in Oakland, CA. Opened in 2015, the CHS Oakland FRC is a place where Oakland parents can acquire the knowledge, resources, and training to be self-sufficient, resilient, and engaged with their children and their community. The Oakland FRC provides family strengthening in Alameda County and offers a wide range of family support services, including resources and referrals, Early Developmental Screening, the Parent Connection Circle, and special events for school readiness, family wellness, and early literacy. For more on the CHS Oakland FRC, please visit: https://www.chs-ca.org/oakland-family-resource-center .

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