Written by: Desirae Anthony
Being a parent is exceptionally hard work under the best of circumstances. Now, imagine bringing a child into the world without the support or knowledge you need to thrive as a parent. We find that the families we serve have multiple barriers. These barriers include but are not limited to generational poverty, parental incarceration, substance use disorder, food insecurities, and homelessness.
Here’s the scary truth. 45.4% of children who die from child abuse are under one year of age. Our founder, the Late Mary-Curtis Gramley, saw the increase in child abuse cases and infant/toddler deaths and decided to do something about it. In 2006, Family Nurturing Center opened its doors as a relief nursery, offering therapeutic classrooms and respite.
Since then, FNC has grown substantially! We are still a relief nursery with classrooms in Phoenix, Medford, and Grants Pass. But in addition to our preschool programs, we have added thirteen new programs. Each program is unique, with one common goal. By strengthening families and reducing the stress within a family, we reduce the likelihood of child maltreatment. We are ending the cycle by teaching parents in early recovery how to live a sober life while learning how to effectively and lovingly raise their children.
Some of our programs include Children’s Mental Health, Parent-Child Interactive Therapy (PCIT) Peer Parent Mentors, In-Home Safety and Reunification (ISRS) Caseworkers, Navigators, Every Child, KEEP, Grandmas2Go, Farm and Food, plus a large selection of parental educational courses like budgeting, GED Classes, and Conscious Discipline.
Every Child is one of FNC’s newest programs. EC is a multi-level program that supports all areas of Foster Care. Last year, 11,000 children here in Oregon spent time in foster care. Five hundred of those children reside within Jackson & Josephine Counties. Every Child’s mission is to support foster families along their journey to reunification or adoption. Every Child provides welcome boxes, baby bags, suitcases, and ethnic hair kits for children entering care. Every Child keeps a snack pantry stocked in local DHS offices. Children often have to spend a little time before a resource parent is found, and they are usually hungry.
During December, Foster the Love is a gift-giving campaign where resource parents can come to “shop” for gifts for their children, kin or not. Additionally, Every Child hosts family fun nights, DHS Appreciation Events, Foster Parent’s Night Out, and fun holiday celebrations. Every Child also hosts twice-monthly Coffee House Events aimed at recruiting new Resource Parents.
Keeping families together has always been our primary goal. When children are placed outside of their birth parent’s care due to a safety risk, the foster home provides a great resource to the child and the birth parent. The child gets a safe place to live, so the parent can then surrender all of their energy into what they need to do to achieve sobriety. Resource Parents are often essential on the road to reunification and recovery.
Written by: Desirae Anthony
Desirae Anthony is a wife and mother of two children and three fur babies. At Family Nurturing Center, she works as the Outreach and Events Coordinator. Desirae finds great joy in educating Southern Oregon about the hard, life-changing work FNC does for families in our community.