TACOMA, Wash. -– Major cuts are coming to a vital family support program in Pierce County. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department's special parenting service, the Family Support Center program, ends December 31, 2013 and may have to close some family support centers.
Grant money totaling $626,000 has run out and the program's contract with the state expires. As part of the contract, trained staff made home visits and taught parenting skills for families in need.
The families who receive services are typically described as the “most vulnerable,” -- those who do not have strong role models but are not active cases with Child Protective Services.
"Even though we're disappointed, my staff is disappointed, I'm personally disappointed. Funding is an issue. We need to figure out, how do we get stable funding," said Sebrena Chambers with Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.
In 2012, the Health Department helped 519 families in Pierce County and made nearly 1,300 home visits.
The state’s Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) who had the contract with Pierce County released a statement:
"Although this contract is ending, Children's Administration is offering an alternative called 'The Promoting First Relationships and Positive Parenting Programs.' We will work with any contractor that has staff trained in those models. Most county health departments, including Pierce, have several staff trained in the programs."
Pierce County administrators are encouraging clients to look into these resources and other agencies and as well as faith-based groups.