Local agency recognized by governor

Published 12:52 am Sunday, March 15, 2009

Families First was one of 10 centers that were recognized by the Governor’s Task Force to Strengthen Alabama Families because of the measures they have taken to strengthen their center. These 10 centers join 13 other centers that were certified under the Governor’s Task Force last year for a total of 23 centers that have acknowledged the need to help Alabama citizens in a holistic, local, and client-centered system.

The purpose of these centers is to serve as a “one stop shopping” place for Alabama’s health and human services,” said chairman Barbara Everett.

“Each center has to meet certain requirements to be accepted in the Task Force Model of Alabama Family Services Centers,” said Kathleen Sauer, executive director of the Task Force. “They must have clearly defined goals, demonstrate buy-in from the community, and have a strong business foundation. We’re proud to recognize these centers for their efforts and accomplishments at the local level.”

Families First began in response to the need for a family resource center in our county. Judge Rhonda Hardesty has led the way in providing the vision and impetus for this rather imposing enterprise. Margo Gibson, chairman of the board of directors of Families First, has led the way in this latest credentialing process. The board of directors of Families First has partnered with the Alabama Family Resource Center and has developed the foundational vision for the present and future services and opportunities offered to the families of our county. Both are housed in the Shepherd Center, downtown Clanton.

Over the next several months Families First will be exploring avenues to enhance the ongoing work with families in our county. Currently they provide parenting classes, substance abuse education, anger management, juvenile life-skill groups, individual and family counseling, as well as assessment and referral services.

Teal Dick of the Alabama Family Resource Center said, “We will continue to work with our local agencies, schools, churches, the courts, as well as the Governor’s office as we seek better ways to effect positive change in our community.”