"It’s strengthening families across our state."

By Erica Thomas

The Alabama Network of Family Resource Centers (ANFRC), an organization of non-profit agencies that provide an array of services to families and children in Alabama, now consists of 23 members.

On Oct. 13, the ANFRC celebrated the recent growth, from 16 members to 23 members, with a virtual ceremony. Each of the new centers had representatives participate in the meeting to explain what area they cover and what they do for those in need.

More than 18,000 families benefited from the network from October 2019 to September 2020, according to ANFR Executive Director Joan Witherspoon-Norris.

“We’re excited that we have grown by seven centers,” said Witherspoon-Norris. “But it’s not just seven centers, it’s those seven centers that you just heard from and heard about. The work that they are doing is incredible and it’s strengthening families and it’s strengthening families across our state. It feels so good to broaden our reach and to broaden our reach with such quality centers.”

Those new centers are Hill Center in Dale County, Coffee County Family Services Center, The Family Center serving Mobile and Baldwin Counties, Family Services of North Alabama based in Marshall County, Vineyard Family Services in Shelby County, Athens-Limestone County Family Resource Center, and Troy Resilience Project in Pike County.

The Alabama Department of Human Resources, the Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention, and the Alabama State Department of Education are among partners with the organization.

“We will work closely with you in pursuit of our shared mission,” DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner told the new members. “Together, we will continue to promote healthy homes, where children and their parents and their grandparents can thrive, in a safe and loving environment.”

In order to be a part of the network, centers must meet 25 standards. The standards relate to oversight of service delivery, fiscal management, and center administration and accountability, ensure that Alabama families receive high-quality service and support. The full list can be viewed here.

Other centers in the network are Childcare Resource Center in Opelika, Children & Family Connection in Phenix City, Circle of Care Center for Families in Valley, Dallas County Family Resource Center in Selma, Family Services Center in Huntsville, Family Support Center in Prattville, First Family Service Center in Talladega, Hope Place Family Resource Center, IMPACT Family Counseling in Vestavia Hills, Jasper Area Family Service Center, Parents and Children Together in Decatur, SAFE Family Services Center in Sylacauga, Sowing Seeds of Hope in Marion, Saliba Center for Families in Dothan, Tuscaloosa’s One Place, and YWoodlawn FRC, in Birmingham.

Director of the Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention, Sallye Longshore, said, “The Family Resource Center model is the best way to improve child wellbeing in Alabama.”

For more information, go  https://www.anfrc.org/.