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Helping Families Program

7 years 6 months ago - 7 years 6 months ago #171616 by FamFive
Replied by FamFive on topic Helping Families Program
We have Family Resource Centers (FRC's) in each school in my state. They are funded by the state, have a dedicated director and offer assistance to families in need. I'm on the advisory council for one and can share some best practices.

First off, this is a great idea...but it can be a slippery slope. I highly recommend your program be managed by a committee and not one person because there will be some tough decisions to make. You can help a lot of families, but you need to watch out for those who may try to take advantage.

Once you have a committee, they will need to set some ground rules about when help is warranted and more importantly, what type of help is allowed. For example, you may decide that providing a family meal to a household where a parent is recovering from surgery is acceptable...while giving cash to someone to pay their electric bill is not acceptable. That's just an example, but you will need to put some rules in place that prevent people from abusing the system. Our FRC has a simple rule about cash. Nobody gets it....EVER! The director makes the purchase when there is a monetary need that needs to be addressed (i.e. she will go buy winter coats and give them to a family who can't afford to buy them).

Once you have a committee and some rules in place, search for partners! Many public agencies, area small businesses and larger corporate sponsors will be happy to help. Depending on the need in your area, you may want to maintain a small stock of items commonly needed. If you have many families in poverty, a food bank might be appropriate. Our FRC keeps a small stock of clothing items for children. If anyone in the school (bus driver, teacher, custodian, etc.) notices a kid is not dressed appropriately for the weather or always shows up to school in the same clothes, they tell the FRC director who looks into it and helps as needed.

Finally, an occasional family meal may be all you do and that's great, but if you decide there is a much bigger need in your area be prepared for a full time job!
10 years 6 months ago #164780 by Lisa W.
Helping Families Program was created by Lisa W.
Hello,

I wanted to know if any of you have programs at your school to help families in your school with meals or anything else if they have surgery or something? We have a name for the program already, and we generally want to help out. We have had a lot of parents in our school who have been ill/had surgery/have major health issues, and we want to lend a hand.

We've decided that a family can tell any PTO Board member if they themselves or if they know of a family we could help or they can speak to the principal or secretary (and it can all remain confidential). The principal has agreed to deliver any meals for families that want to remain anonymous to the rest of the school. We may even use a free online meal sign up for families to sign up for meals through a website.

If anyone has any hints, tips or other ideas, I'd appreciate it. Thanks for your time!

Lisa W.
NY
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