September 15, 2008

State of Alabama
Press Release: Lt. Governor Folsom (2007-11)

Commission Focuses on Services to Alabama Families

The family resource center model has proven to be one of the most successful
social service models available to communities and families across the country.
This model is an effective means by which Alabama families access and utilize
social services to address diverse local issues. During my tenure as Governor,
we lead the charge to implement the Family Resource Center model in Alabama
and also sought federal Family Preservation and Support Services funding for
this project.

Family Resource Centers are community based non-profit social service
agencies which provide a wide variety of prevention and intervention services. In
1994, Alabama launched its first Family Resource Center in the Dothan area.
Since that time, a network of Family Resource Centers has been established to
serve communities across the state. In May 2000, the Alabama Legislature
standardized membership into the Alabama Network of Family Resource Centers
(ANFRC). This move preserved the integrity of Alabama’s family resource center
model, while also ensuring that any center receiving state funding met the
highest standards of excellence and accountability. There are currently 12
centers that are on par with these qualifications, while 18 other centers are in
various stages of development.

The Alabama Network of Family Resource Centers provides a diverse
assortment of services designed to strengthen and effectively address the needs
of Alabama families. According to the ANFRC, the primary purpose of the
Alabama Network is to support the development, growth, and continuation of
family resource centers by providing technical assistance, training, advocacy,
resources, and networking opportunities. Each year, thousands of Alabama
families receive intensive services, such as case management, counseling, home
visitation, parenting, health, employment readiness, and emergency services.
Currently, ANFRC centers operate in Dothan, Anniston, Birmingham, Bay
Minette, Phenix City, Talladega, Valley, Brewton, Montgomery, Decatur,
Sylacauga, and Tuscaloosa.

These centers provide critical services to their communities and have made a
substantial difference in the lives of Alabama families by reducing individuals’
and families’ needs for more costly state and federal services. These centers
have played an integral role in creating and instituting strong networks in communities around the state and in quickly reacting to key local issues. With any program of this magnitude, regular
staff training, and periodic evaluation are essential to ensuring that quality
services are being rendered.

During the 2008 regular legislative session, A House Joint Resolution was
responsible for giving life to the Services for Alabama Families Study
Commission. The purpose of this commission is to study the work of Family
Resource Centers in Alabama and make recommendations for their support,
expansion, and sustainability. The commission will compile its findings and make
recommendations to the 2009 Legislature regarding the services, location,
operation, and funding of the Family Resource Centers. The 17-member
commission is composed of a bi-partisan group of members of the House and
Senate, representatives of state agencies serving children and families, the
family court system, and child advocates. The commission consists of three
subcommittees that will address the key duties outlined in HJR 460: Funding and
Funding Limitations, Accountability and Quality Measures, and Interaction and
Collaboration. The subcommittees will report their findings at the next meeting of
the full Commission this fall.

Members of the Commission are:
Representative Tammy Irons, Chairman
Alfred Saliba, Vice Chairman
Representative Barbara Boyd, Secretary
Kathy Vincent, Office of the State Health Officer
Mr. Walter wood, Director of Youth Services
Kim Mashego, Office of the DHR Commissioner
Mr. Chris McInnish, Commissioner of Children’s Affairs
Ms. Marian Loftin, Director of the Children’s Trust Fund
Dr. Joe Morton, State Superintendent of Education
Linda Cater, office of the Chancellor of Postsecondary Education
Judge Laura Phillips, representing Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb
Ms. Linda Tilly, Director, Voices for Alabama’s Children
Ms. Margaret Morton, Sylacauga Family Resource Center

The implementation of the family resource model has afforded Alabama
numerous benefits since its inception. Our state has been nationally recognized
for setting the bar for accountability standards for family resource centers and is
paving the way for Alabama to exceed federal expectations and standards. Our
families deserve the respect and dignity to receive the highest quality service that
can be offered. It is essential that we maintain this level of excellence in all of
our family resource programs and continue to ensure a vision of promise and
hope for Alabama families.

In other news from your Capitol:

Congratulations to Senator Kim Benefield who was featured in the September
issue of the magazine for Council of State Governments for her selection into the
Henry Toll Fellowship program which identifies and nurtures future leaders in
state government.

Lieutenant Governor Folsom may be reached at 334.242.7900 or
info@ltgov.alabama.gov.



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