A Solid Support System
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene funds nine Family Resource Centers (FRCs) throughout New York City, which opened last fall and now offer a full menu of services to local families.
These centers offer free information and support services to parents/caregivers with children (up to age 24) who have been diagnosed or are at risk for emotional/behavioral or mental health challenges, says Anastasia Roussos, system of care coordinator with the department's Bureau of Children, Youth, and Families.
Each center offers the same menu of services, including individual information, peer-to-peer support, and care coordination, but programs are also tailored to families' specific needs. For example, if there are single moms who want a support group on Tuesday nights, the centers will try to make that happen, Roussos says. Centers are run by trained family advocates who themselves have children with mental health or emotional/behavioral challenges and want to advocate for other families undergoing the same challenges.
FRCs are youth-centered, Roussos says. In addition to support for parents, they provide the opportunity for children to connect with other youth, through peer support groups, recreational activities, and skill development workshops.
For more information, call 311 or 800-LIFENET (543-3638) and ask for the Family Resource Center near you. For Spanish, call 877-AYUDESE (298-3373).