Family Support Institute
The FSFSC Family Support Institute (FSI) is conceived as a component of the Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative (FSFSC) designed to focus on the capacity development components of the FSFSC and surrounding Ward 8 communities. As described in the original proposal for the Collaborative, and re-emphasized every year, a part of the Collaborative’s focus is to enhance the capacity of the families, neighborhoods, and the community at large of the Far Southeast areas of Washington, DC to:
- Understand/Identify abuse and neglect;
- Respond to the needs of abused children;
- Prevent child abuse and neglect; and
- Address the needs and concerns of abusive and neglectful parents.
The FSI is conceived as the primary venue through which the capacity building efforts of the Collaborative are engendered. However, as we continue to clarify the objectives and efforts of the FSFSC, we continue to clarify that education via capacity building is at the heart of all of our efforts. The FSI is seen as the focal point of our capacity building efforts and the unit through which organized capacity building efforts are coordinated.
Objectives of the FSI
Identifying community leaders who have demonstrated some skills in the areas of preventing and/or treating child maltreatment and/or family preservation. Stemming from the identification of these community leaders, the FSI (and by extension, the FSFSC) will have the foundation for building the community’s capacity.
To provide information and training that will educate and strengthen individuals, families, neighborhoods, and communities to reduce the abuse and neglect of children and youth.
To offer opportunities for FSFSC members, residents of Far Southeast and organizations serving the FSFSC geographic area to increase capacity to create and sustain healthy families and communities that nurture the growth and development of children and families.
The FSI will utilize the skills and resources available to offer a wide variety of training, technical assistance, educational and other forms of support services to the members of the FSFSC, as well as the community at large. All of these efforts are designed to develop the community’s ability to fulfill the mission of the FSFSC: increase the skills to respond to child maltreatment, prevent child abuse, and hold abusers accountable. The ultimate goal of the FSI is to increase, in a strategic and coordinated manner, the efforts of the FSFSC and their partners to build the capacity of the Far Southeast communities to prevent child maltreatment, protect children, and strengthen families.
The FSI will serve a number of functions, as mentioned above, to fulfill the goals and objectives outlined in the previous section. These functions are outlined below.
The FSI will be the primary source for strategic and coordinated individual and systems advocacy on behalf of the Far Southeast Community addressing issues of child maltreatment and family preservation. The FSFSC believes that in order to be ultimately effective, advocacy efforts need to be strategically conceived and coordinated from a single point. The FSI will take the lead in these efforts within the Collaborative catchment area.
- Training/Skills Development
The FSI will offer a wide variety of seminars, classes, workshops, conferences, and other training and skills development opportunities is to increase the knowledge, sensitivity, skills and ability of providers and community members to address child maltreatment. Such training and skills development efforts will be offered systematically following a needs assessment of the community. This assessment will explore the kinds of training areas needed and desired.
- Organizational Development
The FSFSC experience within the community for the past thirteen years has demonstrated to us the need to assist partners, neighborhood groups, and community members with specific kinds with specific kinds of technical assistance related to the techniques of providing services to families and children. Such TA includes (but is not limited to) grant writing, fund raising, goal development, collaboration building, cross cultural competence, responding to an outcry, confronting abusive behaviors, etc.
- Coordinated Public Awareness Activities
Public awareness activities about the FSFSC, the FSI, as well as addressing the multitude of issues related to child maltreatment.
- Resource Center
The FSI will develop a library and information center for the FSFSC. The purpose of this library/information center will be to offer a place where community members and partners can locate the latest information and literature on the issues affecting this community. Articles, books, chapters, training manuals, and other publications will be available for lending or copying. Additional information will include funding sources and data to help community members to develop their own writing projects and grant proposals. It will be a future goal to develop an electronic capacity in this area.