Parenting Network has been delivering services for children and families within Tulare County for over 30 years and opened our second Family Resource Center (FRC) in Porterville on July 1, 2017. The mission of Parenting Network is to improve the quality of life of children, including those with special needs, through family centered practices, services, and information to all families and the professionals who serve them.
Parenting Network’s Porterville and Visalia FRC’ are the only (2) FRC’s within the network that are Early Start FRC’s. Therefore, a core component of our organization is to provide services to families with children that have developmental and intellectual disabilities. These services include educational workshops, advocacy, IEP/504 assistance, parent-to-parent support, and additional supportive services. This particular service is delivered by Case Managers that are parents, grandparents, or caregivers of children with special needs. Through our funding we are able assist families that have children from the ages of 0-5 and reside within the Porterville area and surrounding rural communities that are within close proximity. The Early Start program is one of several programs that extend beyond the Porterville city limits and encompasses south Tulare County. This is achieved through our collaboration with Tulare County Office of Education and providing parent support groups for the Porterville and Tulare area.
Although we are distinguished as Early Start FRC’s we serve all families that have children and are within the 0-5 guidelines. Overall, our FRC provides an array of services that encompass basic needs, mental health, parent education, domestic violence, life skills, health/wellness, youth engagement, father involvement, support groups, leadership, and Case Management.
Our basic needs support consists of an emergency food pantry, clothing closet, washer/dryer assistance, hygiene/cleaning products, infant assistance, transportation, and linkages. These services are provided for families that are experiencing financial hardship and have extenuating circumstances, which require concrete supports. Our clothing closet, consists of infant, child, and adult clothing and footwear. Through donations and limited funding we are able to provide additional household products, school supplies, and children items that may include pampers, infant formula, blankets, strollers, and newborn essentials. Our transportation assistance is limited to and from children appointments (e.g. medical, dental, mental health) and family related supportive services (e.g. Tulare Works, SSI, food pantries) . Lastly, families are also able to receive Medi-Cal assistance and through our network of partners, Case Managers serve as advocates and brokers to connect families with additional supportive services.
Currently we provide three evidence based parent education services that include Project Fatherhood, Safe Care, and Parenting Wisely. Project Fatherhood is a (6) month program and fathers meet weekly to cover specific topics and participate in various activities. The program is composed of four components that include Men In Relationship Group (MIRG), Significant Others, Parent/Child Enrichment activities, and Healthy Relationship Workshops. Couples are able to receive healthy relationship workshops led by a therapist to develop skills and strengthen their relationships. Fathers engage in parent/child enrichment activities that promote child development and create healthy parental bonds. Project Fatherhood develops skills and knowledge in the areas of financial literacy, employment, abuse/neglect, substance abuse, domestic violence, grief/separation, child development, healthy communication, problem solving, co-parenting, and being a nurturing father.
Safe Care is a program that is comprised of eighteen sessions and covers three areas that include safety, health, parent child interaction (PCI) or parent infant interaction (PII). This is an in home parenting program that provides the parent(s) with skills that address their children’s needs and is proven to prevent abuse and neglect. Additionally, through parents’ active participation they are able to receive items such as thermometers, first aid kits, and safety proof products for their homes. Parenting Wisely is also an in-home parenting class that is interactive and has a maximum of nine sessions and helps parent(s) to develop assertive discipline and healthy communication skills to modify their children’s behavior.
This past year we held multiple events, that served hundreds of families, including our “Christmas with Santa”, “Calling All Superhero’s” and “We Got Your Back!”. This year we will be having our 2nd Annual Christmas with Santa event and families will receive children gifts, participate in art/crafts project, cookies/milk, and take pictures with Santa. Our super hero event is held during child abuse prevention month and seeks to bring recognition to child abuse and neglect. This past year we had hundreds of children and families attend and provided new bikes, helmets, gift baskets, and social connections with community partners. We also held our “We Got Your Back” event, which helped to provide backpacks, haircuts, community linkages, and school supplies to children in need.
Lastly, Parenting Network this quarter will be working in partnership with Tulare County HHSA Mental Health to spearhead our South County Collaborative for the purpose of creating and improving relationships with community stakeholders, leveraging resources, and consolidating our efforts to have a regional impact in the area. Furthermore, through the formulation of this collaborative we will significantly enhance service delivery, by establishing a strong network of community partners to better meet the needs of the children, families, and communities we serve.
Parenting Network Porterville FRC strives to be a vehicle for change within the lives of the children, families, and our community. Our mission will be achieved through providing programs and services with high quality standards of practice, a strengthening families framework, evidence based services, community collaboration, and family engagement. We will also continue to build and develop innovative approaches and strategies that seek to educate, empower, and strengthen families.