Family Resource Centers

FAMILY RESOURCE CENTERS

Family Resource Centers (FRCs) are the most typical kind of Family Support and Strengthening programs. They are known by many different names across the country, including Family Centers, Family Success Centers, Family Support Centers, and Parent Child Centers. They may be community-based or school-based.  They serve as welcoming hubs of community services and opportunities designed to strengthen families. Their activities and programs, typically provided at no or low cost to participants, are developed to reflect and be responsive to the specific needs, cultures, and interests of the communities and populations served.  There is no dedicated federal funding for FRCs, and yet there are more than 3,000 of them nationwide.

Family Resource Center Overviews

What is a Family Resource Center?

This document developed by the NFSN highlights the history, services, outcomes, and value of Family Resource Centers.
 

Family Resource Centers: Vehicles for Change

This booklet developed by the State of California explains the history, key characteristics, activities, and functions of Family Resource Centers.

Family Resource Centers & Child Welfare

This document, developed in partnership with Casey Family Programs, illustrates how Family Resource Centers provide support for families along all points of the child welfare continuum and can be leveraged for Family First Prevention Services Act implementation.

Family Resource Center Videos

Promise Venture Studio selected and worked with the NFSN to develop a 3 min video (below left) that provides a concise overview of Family Resource Centers and a 1.5 min parent testimonial video (below right) that features Sheila Harewood, a participant in the Nonnie Hood Parent & Family Resource Center in upstate New York. 

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These videos from NFSN Member Networks illustrate the work of Family Resource Centers.

Florida (11.5 min)

Kentucky (6.5 min)

New York (8.5 min)

Family Resource Center Virtual Visit

Take a virtual tour of the Jennie Mose Family Resource Center in upstate New York led by a staff member and a parent leader through watching this one-hour webinar recording.

Webinar Link • Materials Link

Funding Family Resource Centers

Federal Funding & Family Resource Centers

This document lists various federal funding streams that have been accessed, leveraged, and braided to support Family Resource Centers.

Making the Most of New Federal Investments in Child Abuse Prevention

This document developed by the NFSN along with four other national organizations, Children’s Trust Fund Alliance, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, EndCAN, and Prevent Child Abuse America, highlights recommendations for state agencies and organizations to help inform funding decisions and plans for the use of additional federal Community-based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) funding.  The document specifically highlights Family Resource Centers (FRCs) and Networks of FRCs for consideration for investment.

States Increase FRC Funding to Support Families Through the Pandemic

This document developed by the NFSN highlights how states are further investing in Networks of FRCs through the pandemic and beyond. 

Research on Family Resource Centers

A growing body of research and evaluation is highlighting the effectiveness of Family Resource Centers.

Alabama Network of Family Resource Centers Return on Investment Study

This Net Social Return on Investment research determined that for every $1 invested in Family Resource Centers, the State of Alabama received $4.93 in immediate and long-term consequential financial benefits.

Colorado Community Response Evaluation Brief 

This brief presents data that families who were screened out of child welfare and completed family development activities at Family Resource Centers were less likely to enter the child welfare system than did a matched comparison group of families during a one-year follow-up period: 37.5% less likely to have a founded assessment and 50% less likely to have out of home placements.

Since Teller County, Colorado moved to a differential response model in 2016 that utilizes a Family Resource Center, its child abuse rate has had a 57.7% reduction.

- Division of Child Welfare Services, Colorado Department of Human Services

Do Family Support Centers Reduce Maltreatment Investigations? Evidence from Allegheny County

This Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago analysis of Family Support Centers in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania determined that neighborhoods with centers had a 26% lower rate of child abuse and neglect investigations than similar neighborhoods without them.

Do Place-Based Programs, Such as Family Resource Centers, Reduce Risk of Child Maltreatment and Entry into Foster Care?

This issue brief and accompanying appendix developed by Casey Family Programs outline and explain the value of Family Resource Centers, especially in relation to child welfare.

Evaluation Study of the Administration for Children Service’s Family Enrichment Center Initiative

This study of New York City's Family Enrichment Centers conducted by Youth Studies Inc. documents their impact on serving local families.

Family Pathways & CFSA 2.0 Evaluation Report – Executive Summary 2020

Family Pathways & CFSA 2.0 Evaluation Report – Executive Summary 2019

These evaluation reports from Colorado show that families who participated in Family Resource Centers demonstrated statistically significant improvements in economic self sufficiency, health, concrete support in times of need, social support, family functioning and resiliency, and caregiver-child nurturing and attachment.
 

Key Components of Family Resource Centers: A Review of the Literature

This study commissioned by the Family Resource Center Association (Colorado) and conducted by the OMNI Institute, identified seven key components for effective Family Resource Centers.  All of these components are also reflected in the nationally-adopted Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening & Support.

Outcome and Cost-Savings Data for Selected Types of Family Support Services

This document developed by Casey Family Programs summarizes research on Family Resource Centers and Family Support and Strengthening Networks in relation to other Family Support services.

Return on Investment of Family Resource Centers to the Child Welfare System
With the support of Casey Fmaily Programs, the OMNI Institute conducted research and issued two reports on cost savings FRCs yield for rural and urban child welfare systems by reducing families' involvement in them. 

The key findings are: 

  • In 2017, reductions in child maltreatment cases in Westminster FRC's Orange County community saved the child welfare system an estimated $1.82M; in 2016 this savings was estimated at $1.1M. For every $1 invested in Westminster FRC in 2016 and 2017, the Orange County child welfare system saved an estimated $3.65. 

  • After a formal partnership between Community Partnership FRC and Teller County child welfare was established, the county saved an estimated $2.5M associated with reductions in child welfare cases. For every $1 invested in Community Partnership FRC, the Teller County child welfare system saved an estimated $2.92 

The recording and materials from the webinar that launched the reports can be found on the Webinar Wednesday page.

DEVELOPING FAMILY RESOURCE CENTERS

 The National Family Support Network has developed the Investing in an FRC System of Support Funder Continuum to detail how to develop and fund Family Resource Centers.  The continuum includes resources available through the NFSN, such as technical assistance and facilitation, to support movement along it.  Contact the NFSN Director to discuss your technical assistance needs.