Building a Safety Net for Families
Elsa Villalobos stands among a circle of staff from Child Crisis Arizona, a ball of red yarn in her hands. As a Family Resources Care Coordinator, she is leading the team through an exercise in identifying the range of resources available to address the variety of needs that a family in crisis might be experiencing.
She presents the scenario: A grandmother in her mid-60s calls. Three grandchildren, ages 5, 11 and 16, are now living with her after they were removed from her son’s home due to his drug abuse. She is overwhelmed with newfound responsibilities and has a list of issues such as renting a larger apartment, locating a counseling or support group for the two older children, and finding someone to help her navigate becoming a mother for the second time in her life.
Although this scenario is fictional, situations like this one are common stories for the families that contact Child Crisis Arizona and reflect the many challenges individuals may face when trying to find the resources, support and assistance that they need. Our staff point families in the right direction to find the network of organizations and resources that can help.
Elsa asks her colleagues to identify services that would help this woman, tossing the ball of yarn to the first person who has a suggestion.
“I would advise her to call Arizona 2-1-1 to ask for help with housing assistance,” says a staff member as she catches the yarn.
“For adult support, I would suggest she attend out Kinship Support Group,” says another staff member, catching the red ball.
Elsa reminds the group of the myriad of classes and workshops that our Family Resources program offers caregivers and kids, as she catches the yarn.
On it goes with staff mentioning services and learning of new ones, the yarn tossed from person to person.
At the end of the exercise, the staff notice a web beginning to form. Elsa explains that it represents our client’s safety net. It is our job to ensure that they are supported and guided in all aspects, only then can we feel confident about a family’s success and the safety of the children.
“There is no such thing as a one-stop shop anymore,” says Elsa. “The resources are out there, but people have to know how to find them and be prepared to make some phone calls.”
Staff work diligently to address the issues that surround any situation, pointing families in the right direction to find the network of organizations and resources that can help. This may include the services Child Crisis Arizona offers such as home visits to help parents with their child’s development, classes and workshops for both parents and children on a wide range of topics, or Early Education Services such as Early Head Start or preschool. Or they may include the many services, organizations and agencies throughout the state. In each case, the overall goal is to build a safety net for each family that keeps children safe and builds strong families.