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August/September 2002Vol. 3, No. 7Spaulding Takes Lead in Faith-based Parent Support Initiative

Spaulding For Children launched a "Parent Help Center Project" in five Detroit-area churches in October 1, 1999. The project has grown to include eight local churches and is presently facilitated through Spaulding's Institute for Family and Community Development. Funded through a 3-year, $855,000 grant awarded by The Skillman Foundation, Spaulding partnered with area churches to strengthen and support birth, kinship, foster, and adoptive families in their communities. The project, which was expanded in 2001 to include eight churches, has the goal of maintaining children safely within their families.

Initially, each of the participating churches formed advisory groups, conducted a needs assessment, and developed a plan unique to their community's needs, while the Spaulding Institute provided technical assistance, information and referral, training, parent education, and staffing for child/family support groups. Spaulding supported their partner churches as they moved along the continuum below depending on their needs/resources:

  • Level 1--Augmenting existing resources within a church. Training programs may meet once or twice a week in a church basement or classroom with Spaulding providing the staffing.
  • Level 2--A Staffed Center within the church with space dedicated to the Parent Help Center. Full or part-time staff and/or volunteers manage the center, which is open during the week, some evenings and/or weekends to provide resources for parents. Spaulding provides support by training volunteers and staff and accepting referrals for families needing crisis intervention or other services.
  • Level 3--Comprehensive Family Resource Center with active outreach to families and youth, which may include on-site counseling and crisis services and active participation in community building activities for families. Spaulding provides training for trainers, technical assistance and other resources to complement the Center's activities and assist them in becoming self-sufficient.

The services provided by different centers included: parenting training for grandparents and kin raising children; training on issues of discipline, drug abuse, and sexual abuse; support groups for teens, grandparents, and kin; mentor programs; tutoring programs; computer classes for children and adults; and, in one case, collaboration with a program for infants and young children funded by the Skillman Foundation and the Children's Trust Fund. The programs have been well received in the churches and communities. While the Institute's involvement with the project will formally end on September 30, 2002, it is expected that many of the Centers will continue.

For more information regarding the Parent Help Center Project or the Spaulding Institute for Family and Community Development, contact:

Kris Henneman
Vice President, Spaulding for Children
Phone: 248-443-7080

Related Items

Read the following articles from previous issues of the Children's Bureau Express for more information about faith-based initiatives:

  • "HHS Launches New Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives" (February/March 2002)
  • "Unlevel Playing Field: Service Areas for Faith-Based and Community-Based Organizations" (November/December 2001)
  • "Faith-based Campaigns: Answering the Call to Find Homes for Waiting Children" (May/June 2001)