Family Services Program
Building on a strong 18-year history of success in helping homeless men and women rebuild their lives, in May 2018, Carpenter’s Place launched our Family Services Program to meet the demonstrated need in our community.
- In 2016, the percentage of people living below the poverty level in Rockford grew to 29.7%, rising nearly 5% from the previous year (24.8% in 2015)
- In 2017, 51% of the women who gave birth in Winnebago County were single mothers of which 60% were below poverty income levels.
- 11.1% of Rockford residents have income below 50% of the poverty level. This translates to: $8,230 per year for a family of 2; $12,550 per year for a family of 4
HOW WE ADDRESS THE NEED
The Carpenter’s Place Family Services program is based in accountability and full engagement of the family in rebuilding their lives.
- The immediate goal is to address any crisis situation, especially where safety is involved, such as a family living in a car.
- The intermediate goal is to identify and access services needed to help the family gain stability.
- The long-term goal is to have families be self-supporting, contributing members of our community.
To maximize the collective impact of local organizations for the benefit of families in the Rock River Valley, Carpenter’s Place Family Services provides comprehensive case management. Through this case management program, sixteen areas of life are addressed for parents and children, and tracked on a database program. The initial step is a meeting with the family to identify needs, and work with them to set goals and steps for reaching those milestones. Although the needs are identified through our program, Carpenter’s Place is not the end provider for all services. We partner with local organizations who are experts in their field. By doing this, we avoid duplication of services and maximize the community resources targeted to help families in need of assistance. In addition to what is provided by Carpenter’s Place, resolution of need may be accomplished through referrals and telephone advocacy or by accompanying families to their appointments with other community agencies.
The following outcomes were achieved by families in our Family Case Management Program from January 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021:
- 52 families (63 adults, 128 children, 2 babies expected) actively participated in the Family Services Program
- 27 family members obtained employment (23 full-time and 4 part-time)
- 20 families obtained stable housing (21 adults, 50 children)
The Carpenter’s Place Family Services program includes rebuilding in the following sixteen areas:
- Addictions – Identification of most appropriate outpatient program provided by community providers to meet each family member’s need (age group, insurance, child care, location/transportation, and time of day); assist with connections to the program via referral. Same with inpatient substance abuse treatment, support groups and medical detoxification.
- Belongings – Identification of needed household items, clothing and personal care items for adults and children; assistance to obtain and transport (especially for furniture items).
- Child and Other Care – Identification of needed support for child care financial support assistance and finding appropriate care for each child in the family. After school programs, summer programs and other community program engagement assistance. This extends to specialized care for other members of the family (seniors/disabled).
- Counseling – Assessment and referral to supportive programs for individual and marriage counseling; family therapies and victim support programs for those needing trauma support.
- Education – Identify appropriate support or assistance needed for education including G.E.D., FAFSA applications and other certification programs (like C.N.A, Medical Assistant or truck driving). Referrals to training or other programs that are a “fit” with family’s schedule/ location. Assistance and referrals for children in the public school system to obtain needed supplies, and services including 504 Plans and IEP’s. Assess for suitable family child and other care to support educational program and refer to community supports for care assistance.
- Employment – Provide career and employment assessment for connection to the most appropriate provider of employment services based on family member’s need, location, schedule and then connect with provider for assistance with resume, cover letter, interviewing skills and other training to develop needed soft skills. Provide referrals and connections for needed employment-appropriate clothing, work boots, safety glasses or other equipment. Assess for suitable family child and other care to support employment and refer to community supports for care assistance.
- Financial – Assess the family’s current financial situation and determine challenges and underlying cause. Make needed referral to the best resources for crisis monetary assistance, budgeting assistance, and any ongoing financial advising. Assist with applications for social security disability and refer to SSDI Attorney. Refer to representative payee if necessary.
- Health – Assess issues with health that affect family function. Determine if there is a need for assistance using Medicaid, Medicare or other insurance questions; referral, as needed, to providers for medical, dental, optical and other physical care needs for both children and adults.
- Housing – Assess for trauma-related homelessness, determine current stability of housing and determine what support and assistance are needed to either obtain affordable housing or work with current housing provider/landlord to maintain housing. Assess current status with payment for utilities and refer to appropriate assistance for housing-related expenses, repairs and support. Provide assistance with deposits and rent in crisis situations, particularly those involving issues of safety, when no other resources are available.
- Identification – Assess for needed documentation and provide assistance for obtaining birth certificates and formal identification for all family members. This is critical to access other services for basic needs.
- Legal – Identify pending legal issues that affect family’s stability. Refer to identified legal entities including advocacy for domestic violence and children involved with OCFS.
- Mental Health – Identify mental health issues impacting the family’s stability and make best referrals (based on age and nature of illness) to community providers. Help family member to connect with mental health care, support groups and assistance. Provide assistance linking to help for community developmental disabilities for adults and children.
- Recreation – Assess and determine appropriate referrals to family-related community activities for better engagement with their neighborhood and city.
- Relationships – Determine current family support and, when appropriate assist with healthy reconnection to family, establishing of healthy friendships, and finding social activities appropriate for the entire family. Provide referrals and assistance for issues relating to dealing with abusive partners and other family relationships.
- Spiritual – Determine if the family wants and/or has spiritual support; link to appropriate entities that match location, age, children’s ages and family’s expressed desires in this area.
- Transportation – Determine current challenges to transportation and assist with the needed planning for budgeting and planning for the purchase of a vehicle, if appropriate, and determine budget to maintain a vehicle. Assist with access to mass transportation and other special transportation needed for family members.