Family Resource Guide
Give a family access to resources, and you have helped that family thrive. Piles of research have been done to prove as much, but it’s really common sense: Parenting isn’t done alone. A network of friends and family, access to community resources and knowledge of where to go when there’s a need are all vital pieces in raising a child.
Families in West Michigan have a trusted source for this sort of support: the Family Resource Guide from Family Futures. With 13 editions published over 19 years, the Family Resource Guide connects families to detailed, useful, easy-to-read information about programs and services in the community. It is the only printed, comprehensive information source of its kind in West Michigan, available in print and online at www.familyresourceguide.info.
Operating with a small budget and a young staff, Family Futures was incorporated in the summer of 1985. At the time we were known as the Kent County Council for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. Eight years later, our annual budget had only increased to $104,000.
Finally, in 1995 we began to see big changes. We became the Child and Family Resource Council, and our Kent County Healthy Start program was introduced. As our most important initiative, Healthy Start (now Healthy Families) was implemented through a grant that was the largest in Steelcase Foundation history: $1.8 million over five years.
In the following years we grew in capacity, programming, and community services. We published our first Family Resource Guide, an extensive compilation of resources for Kent County families. The Guide is available in both English and Spanish versions.
By actively working with other community groups and helping to define standards for improving childhood outcomes, Family Futures continued to thrive. Our Connections program is an example of what can happen when the right idea is incubated and a community comes together. It continues to grow and now serves about 15% of families with children under five.
In May of 2011 our name was again updated to more accurately reflect our work and our mission. Family Futures is a future-thinking organization. We are fully committed to a preventative approach with families, providing them with information, resources, and support to prepare them for today and for long-term success. Download here
Five Ways to Strengthen Families
A lot of parenting advice focuses on what you can’t or shouldn’t do. These five points do just the opposite, instead building on the strengths you already have. The approach benefits all families, no matter their makeup or their situation, and best of all, they can be implemented through small but significant changes in everyday actions. Research and experience support each one of these points, and they are the basis for much of the Family Futures programming. Following them will lead to a healthier, stronger family and bright futures for all children. To view the five protective factors click here.
Mandated Reporter Guide
To keep children safe, we need a community that recognized abuse and neglect and knew how to report it. Mandated Reporter Training trains professionals not only how to report child abuse and neglect, but also how to recognize it. For more information, please call (616) 454-HOPE (4673). Click here for more info.