What Are Family Support Centers?
Family Support Centers (FSC) are community-based programs designed to support families by strengthening parent/child relationships, provide supports parents need to be good nurturers and providers, and to gain or maintain self-sufficiency. These programs serve as welcoming hubs of community services and opportunities. They are designed to strengthen families, reflect and be responsive to the specific needs, cultures, and interests of the communities and populations served.
FSCs are unique in their approach to working with families: they build families’ strengths and capacities, work for positive social change, and offer help without stigma. Parents may act in many capacities, such as serving on a decision-making board, participating in programs, or planning and participating in community events.
Because FSCs must be located in the neighborhoods they serve, they will play a unique role for the community-wide human service delivery network. FSCs will eliminate barriers to family participation by bringing new services to the community. FSCs must build programs around the Strengthening Families Protective Factors framework and Family Support Principles. These principles combine 30 years of research to provide the latest and best research on effective child abuse and neglect prevention and family support programs.
Program designs must include these key elements:
• Family Support Principles
• Creative outreach to isolated families
• Staff that are representative of the community, when available.
• Culturally appropriate services.
• Strategies to promote parent leadership.
• Provision of evidence-based and evidence informed programs and practice.
• Ongoing assessment of community service needs in the FSC coverage area.
Family Support Center Program Model
The goal of this community-based program is to support family strengths, promote community investment and ownership, and provide the needed resources to families to improve family well-being and reduce the risk of child abuse, child neglect, and juvenile delinquency.
This prevention-focused, voluntary program offers comprehensive, culturally sensitive services, which are universally accessible to all families (with an emphasis on families with children ages 18 and under) in a central location. The design is based on a local needs assessment, building on an existing planning process with interdisciplinary participation, including parents, health departments, Family Resource Networks, social services, local governments, schools, local agencies, religious institutions, early care and education programs, and community residents.
The model is strengths based:
• Treats parents as partners.
• Addresses basic needs.
• Looks at capabilities.
• Is resource-based.
• Supports family strengths to meet needs.
• Emphasizes informal support and mutual help among families.
• Offers a range of flexible services and programs where the family determines the level of involvement.
The Children’s Home Society operates 4 DHHR Funded Family Support Centers:
• Mid-Town Family Support Center, Wood County/Parkersburg
– Lisa Weaver, Program Director: 304.485.0650 or [email protected]
• Nancy Stuart Tonkin Family Support Center, Cabell County/Huntington
– Belinda Chapman, Program Director: 681.378.2530 or [email protected]
• Monarch Family Support Center, Berkeley County/Martinsburg
– Jenna Orsini, Program Director: 304.264.4658 or [email protected]
• The Honey Bee Family Support Center, Jefferson County/Ranson
– Antionette Gue, Program Director: 304.707.3441