Center for Family Success

Marion County’s Center for Family Success is modeled after a successful program in Portland that works intensively with parents involved in the criminal justice system and their children. With an array of services offered by referral or on site, the center features a cutting-edge parenting curriculum, coaching and support groups, employment services, life skills, evidence-based programming, mentoring and case management.

The Center was launched through a U.S. Department of Labor grant by the St. Vincent de Paul Society and focused on employment services. In the fall of 2009, the Center transitioned from St. Vincent de Paul to the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency. Evidence-based tools assess a client’s job history, motivation, propensity for re-offense, education, substance abuse issues and other factors. A Substance Abuse Counselor/Case Manager helps the client create an individualized success plan that incorporates employment soft skills, life skills and identifies other resources needed for success. The client can be concurrently matched with a volunteer mentor team, including a job coach who helps with job leads, filling out job applications, addressing grooming and hygiene concerns, and practicing interview techniques. Trained mentors “walk beside” each family as they strive to turn away from addictions and accompanying lifestyles. Based on needs assessed, the Center offers education services on site or refers clients to Adult Basic Education, GED, literacy programs, and tutoring to address employment barriers. A twelve-week, research-based Parenting Inside Out class provides pro-social skill building in communication and cognitive restructuring. Other life skills programming offered includes modules from the evidence-based mapping enhanced counseling that was developed by Texas Christian University.

The Center recently received a federal earmark grant which adds a case manager to the staff. In addition to employment support, Center staff assists clients with filling out housing application forms and providing necessary documentation to qualify for low income housing assistance. The Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency offers Ready to Rent classes. The Oregon Department of Human Services assists with self-sufficiency issues including food stamps, employment-related day care, JOBS services, wraparound case management, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). The Center also closely coordinates with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Children of Incarcerated Parents Initiative and with providers of substance abuse treatment and domestic violence services.

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