Collaboration is the key to any successful endeavor, particularly child care. Family Resource Centers provide a wide spectrum of services to child care providers, families and children. Family Resource Centers aim to help families and children get a good, healthy start. Most FRCs are housed in schools which enable the centers to serve a vast number of providers and families from different ethnic, racial and socioeconomic backgrounds in one central area. Family Resource Centers offer the seven following components: Families in Training, Preschool and School-Aged Child Care, Support and Training for Family Day Care Providers, Adult Education, Positive Youth Development, and Resource and Referral Services. Using the guiding philosophy that all families need services, and should have access to services, each center modifies these components to best serve the providers, families and children in their communities.
Family Resource Centers help realize the vision of a cohesive community through networking and collaboration; by opening the lines of communication among parents and children, child care providers and the larger community. First, the FRC opens lines of communication between parents and children through programs like Families in Training, Child Care, Positive Youth Development, and Adult Education. In all of these programs, parents and children develop vital skills which enable them to not only listen, but hear what others have to say. They also discover that what they have to say matters. The FIT helps parents feel more comfortable with their role as parents. As a result, parents and children establish a strong emotional bond which may open the door for later communication.
The FRC also opens communication between families and service providers. The FRC realizes that parents are the true experts when it comes to their children. Parents can easily and openly discuss ways to meet the needs of the family. Once parents feel that the needs of their children are being met,they can take steps towards defining and meeting their own needs. The FRC gives parents a tremendous amount of power that most intervention programs ultimately take away. In doing this, the FRCs open new lines of communication between families and communities.
The FRC also enhances communication between service providers and the community. In addition to a director and providers, many FRC programs also have social workers, occupational therapists and speech therapists on staff. Often times, the FRC child care program collaborates with other programs in the community to provide necessary services. A vital component of the Family Resource Center is Resource and Referral. This component is the lifeline of the FRC. Through geographical location and collaboration, the FRC is able to provide parents and children numerous resources to ensure the proper development of children and families. FRCs also offer workshops and seminars for child care providers. Through strong communication and collaboration, we get closer to realizing the vision of a child-friendly community. Family Resource Centers offer programs which help parents and providers to develop coping skills necessary to respond proactively to stressful situations. When families stop reacting to circumstances, they stop being victims of these circumstances. Parents and providers become strong advocates for children and their communities. Parents and providers have a powerful voice at public hearings. Their presence has a strong impact on high officials. Parents, providers and children also write letters to public officials. The fights are never easy, but at least officials know parents and providers are active.
Our future lies in the hands of the children. Family Resource Centers realize this and devote much of their programs to fostering the positive development of children and their families. Family Resource Centers break down the barriers of communication by bringing people together, eliminating stigmas and creating opportunities. FRCs empower children and families and the communities they live in through education and resources. Empowerment is the instrument of change. Families and providers can work together to realize the vision of a pro-child, pro-family society.