Family Support

Honoring their history and culture, Denver Indian Family Resource Center

Colorado is home to more than 111,000 American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) people, with many (approximately 45{5174c02ae8af42f0163c0bde243aeca1ac9f4d91a19005bb7e698c1ed57806ea}, or 50,000) living in the Denver metro area. Denver Indian Family Resource Center (DIFRC) works to impact those families involved with the child welfare system, a historic and ongoing challenge within the AI/AN population.

As the Denver metro area continues to shift and grow, it is more important than ever that we make sure there are services available to American Indian and Alaska Native families seeking to prevent and address child abuse and neglect. Located in the Denver metro area, DIFRC has programming focused on a number of services that include impact areas of youth development, parent counseling, family development, and urban community cultural engagement.

DIFRCs mission is to strengthen vulnerable American Indian and Alaska Native children and families through collaborative and culturally responsive services. In this work, DIFRC’s definition of family includes relatives and close friends in order to recognize the re­ality for most Indian family units.

DIFRC has established a revered reputation in the community and demonstrated success in serving as a single point of entry for comprehensive, intensive, and collaborative family-based services for vulnerable AI/AN children and their caregivers with in the Denver metro area Indian community.

To learn more about Denver Indian Family Resource Center, visit their website at www.difrc.org.

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Moving On. One family’s success!

The Missy writing this story is very different than the Missy that first walked into the Family Resource Center years ago. Today, I am a proud military wife, strong mother to four beautiful children, and a recent college graduate with honors. If you would have told me 15 years ago that this is where my life would have led me, I wouldn’t have believe you, but I’m so glad I was wrong.

At the young age of 15, I became a mother to a beautiful baby boy. During this time in my life, I was making seriously bad choices and ended up becoming addicted to drugs. Everything around me was crumbling because of my addiction, and my son and I ended up in foster care. This experience led me to getting my life back on track and sober. After I regained my footing, I became involved with a man who was violently abusive throughout our relationship. I found myself once again turning to drugs to escape, but I knew that wasn’t the answer or any way to live my life for my child.  I made the decision to go through a rehab program and move back in with my mother.  She was now clean and sober too.

Living back with my mom and having that stable home environment, I was able to continue working with the Family Resource Center. I remember telling my home visitor everything that I had been through over the past few years, and all she said to me was “What can we help with?” It was so nice to not feel judged so I could move past my own past. My home visitor was able to help guide me and she provided resources like helping me find my own safe housing and parenting classes.  She told me I could be successful.  I didn’t believe her then, but I’ve come so far.

The Family Resource Center has been the most consistent support system for the past 15 years of my life. During these years, I’ve participated in Partners In Parenting Education Class, the toy van, play groups, and the safety and health program to name a few. I’ve also had home visits and participated in trainings so I can better understand my children and ways to give them the best of me as their mom.

Without the support of the Family Resource Center, I am not sure where I would be or if I would still have my son.  I had hit rock bottom and they still helped me. Then, I was able to make goals for my family and they helped me reach my goals.

Today my husband and I own our home and have reliable vehicles. This year alone has been a huge year. I turned 30 and it’s humbling to think that I have been a mom for half my life! My husband and I are celebrating 10 years together! The best part is I did something that I never thought that I could be able to do as a teen mother; I graduated college with honors!

I am who I am today because of the support and encouragement of the Family Resource Center program! They have always seen what I could do, even when I couldn’t see it at first myself. Sometimes it’s hard to believe in yourself, but they believed in me.  They have helped me learn about my children’s health and development which has helped me advocate for their needs as well.

I would love to just say thank you to everyone at the Family Resource Center! I don’t know where me and my family would be without them.

By Melissa K.

To find the Family Resource Center nearest you, go to our Member Center page for a complete map.

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Family Support in Rural Colorado

Rural areas face the same challenges as other communities, but some of the answers can be hard to find.  Challenges for families can include: housing, health coverage, available work, high rent vs. low pay, health provider availability, and direct services for individualized resources.

Family Resource Centers (FRCs) are at the heart of the solutions to challenges within the rural community. By offering programs to families that educate them with a two generation approach, FRCs are approaching their work to strengthen both parents and children, where they both can participate and learn together.

Rural communities struggle with a lack of public transportation and a population that can be very spread out.  This makes it hard for families to access the resources and supports they need to thrive.  There is also the stigma of needing services.

At the Morgan County Family Center (MCFC)  in Fort Morgan, we offer an array of programs across the community geared towards meeting the needs of the whole family. We offer several programs that use the two-generation approach within family leadership, child development, health education, youth enrichment and parent education. Each program covers a different age range, benefiting all youth in one way or another, while also benefiting parents.

Families do not fit a “typical” mold. Families come from all levels of economic stability. Some families who are going through a challenging time may not have the knowledge of what resources are available. We ensure that our website is up to date with information about our offered programs, partner with 211, a national mobile app and phone number that can be used to find local resources, and by keeping a constant presence on Social Media. We also partner with local landlords and utility providers so that they can provide our information to families who they feel are experiencing a need.

Family development work is vital in reaching the families and individuals within each community. Advocates meet families on their level, discuss their personal goals and use wrap around services to strengthen the family as a whole by connecting them to local resources and providing support in their journey. Our advocates have also been trained in the Financial Health Institute curriculum to better serve families that need coaching in financial health.

Families who get connected to MCFC, meet with an advocate and through conversations and communication during these visits, it is determined what resources and supports advocates can provide. Advocates set goals with each family, then discuss each action step to reach those goals.

Along with family development work, FRCs collaborate with other community partners to provide additional services, funds through mini-grants, programs, classes and community events to raise awareness. These collaborations within the rural environment are critical to reaching a diverse population and to recruiting families into the programs available.

One partnership we work with is Fort Morgan Cultures United for Progress (FMCUP) to promote reaching our very diverse population through translating services. This helps us offer our programs in more than one language to effectively include as many cultures as we can.

Using evaluation, data, outcomes, and trends the FRCs are able to determine which programs are successful, which programs need more funding and what programs may be needed in the future. FRCs collect and analyze this data to deduce whether the provided resources are moving families in a positive direction on the Economic Self Reliance Scale*. In September one of our programs showed a 70{5174c02ae8af42f0163c0bde243aeca1ac9f4d91a19005bb7e698c1ed57806ea} successful movement for families on the ESR scale.

We are proud of the work we are doing in our community.  If you think that MCFC could be a positive resource for you, then don’t hesitate to contact them:

411 Main Street, Suite 100
Fort Morgan, CO 80701
Phone: 970.867.9606
Fax: 970.867.9693
[email protected]

*Economic Self Reliance Scale: This report reviews data related to the domains related to economic self-sufficiency of the Colorado Family Support Assessment 2.0.

By Mary Gross and Jennifer Jaramillo – Morgan County Family Center

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Life takes unexpected turns, but Family Resource Centers provide help and support

JULY 16, 2018 – In my twenties, I was blessed to marry my high-school best friend and longtime sweetheart, Ryan. We were an average couple, like many of you, both working on careers while building our life together.  Life had its ups and downs, but it was good, we were a team. It was the little things in life that we both enjoyed, dinner with our families and attending church on Sundays.

But all of that changed in the summer of 2012 when unexpectedly, Ryan passed away in a motorcycle accident. My life changed instantly. Without him, I felt I had nothing. Within weeks with the loss of a second income, coupled with despair, I found myself homeless. Although loved ones tried to reach out to me, depression, addiction, grief and worst of all hopelessness had me in its grip. For three years I struggled. But then things got worse, I lost my only brother to suicide and then my grandad passed away shortly after.

It was around this time that I found out that I was 27 weeks pregnant. Which absolutely terrified me. There was no way I could bring a child into my mess.  I was terrified for the life of my unborn child as well as the uncertainty of how I would provide for this little baby.  But I made the decision that my child’s life would be a blessing and not a burden, regardless of what I needed to do to change.

I moved in with my mother until I got on my feet. I started eating well, stopped smoking, and maintained my sobriety. I also began going to the library and reading up on all things parenting.  With support and encouragement from family and friends around me, on August 25th 2015, Robert Aurik came into the world at 8 lb. 15 oz. He was a perfectly healthy and beautiful son named after my father in law.

I found out about WIC from a friend.  WIC was the first step in my transition to healthy parenting. I learned about breastfeeding and made a goal to nurse for the first year which helped me stay on track with my sobriety. I was also given the referral to Catholic Charities of Pueblo.

In the spring of 2016 I begin participating in their home visitation program, Parents As Teachers. I quickly found out there were many other programs that I could participate in.  I also started working with a Family Development Worker in the Family Resource Center Program. Alex was able to help me assess my family’s needs, make goals and start focusing on what I could do immediately to change the future of my family. He also informed me of a job opening within Catholic Charities with the HIPPY team. Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters otherwise known as HIPPY.  I applied and a few weeks later I got the exciting news that I was hired!  This meant I could start to provide for Aurik on my own and continue to work on my goals.

The work I do with HIPPY has helped me develop my professional skills as well as encourage me personally. With firsthand knowledge of many of the Catholic Charities programs, I am able to inform the families I see about the great programs we have to offer. I truly love the work I do: networking, assisting families and serving the community.

In the spring of 2018, I am completing my second year as a HIPPY home visitor.  I am now able to pay off the remaining balance of my student loans and I will have money to start my journey towards an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. I have also worked hard and will then be debt-free. This has allowed me to start saving for a down payment on a home!  I’m building a life again for myself and my son.

Most recently I enrolled in the Family Leadership Training Institute program. Each FLTI participant gets the opportunity to work on a community project of their choosing. My project is HOPE, Homeless Outreach Providing Encouragement. The project goal is to empower and employ homeless individuals, connect them with community resources and services that are already in place, and beautify our city in the process.

My life has been very different after participating in programs and goal setting at the Family Resource Center and the other programs of Catholic Charities.  Life is full of possibility once again. I have the skills necessary to take care of my son and myself. Additionally, I know where to turn if I need help. I am providing an environment that Aurik is thriving in. I have the respect of my family, coworkers, and people in my community and myself. My life now is filled with hope and happiness.  My experiences have shaped me, but do not define me.

The work at Family Resource Centers is important!  Connecting with families in their time of need is powerful and is life-changing.  It is the little acts of kindness, the encouraging words, the information and resources you share with families that add up and leave our world a little better at the end of each day.  Frederick Douglass said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.”

– Tamra F.

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