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Wilkinsburg Family Support Center (WFSC) was established as part of a plan to establish resident driven family support centers in three communities – Homewood, Wilkinsburg and Duquesne over a three-year period. Homewood was opened in 1993, Wilkinsburg was opened in 1994 and Duquesne was opened in 1995. The initial target population was families with children ages 0-3 but that was expanded to families with children ages 0-5 by 1996. The centers were created to utilize the strength-based approach to service delivery to families.
Services initially provided would include child development, parent education, case management as well as programs designed by families participating in the center’s services. While these communities were chosen because of the existence of families with multiple service needs enrollment did not require that families had a “problem” requiring assistance. Families were welcome to come to the center for social and recreational activities. Each center offered “drop-in” support to families allowing parents and caregivers to drop into the center to get a break from the stresses of parenting. Parents were engaged in adult classes and programs while children were involved in staff supervised developmental play.
WFSC was center based for the first eleven years of operation but in 2005 became trained and certified to offer evidenced based home visiting support. The center utilized the Parents as Teachers (PAT) curricula for families with children ages 0-3, 3-Kindergarten, Teen Parents and Special Needs Parents. The center staff became trained with the Nurturing Parenting Program (NPP) in 2016 to continue home visiting for families with school age children. Center based services and programs continue to be offered with both curricula-based programs as well as through collaborative partnerships with other agencies. Parent governance and leadership opportunities are a cornerstone of the success of our center.
WFSC celebrated its 25th Anniversary in May 2019 to promote being community based and having no eligibility requirements for participation. As opposed to identifying and fixing what is wrong, family support focuses on identifying and building upon family strengths.