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Family Resources Community Action Program

Address: 245 Main Street
WOONSOCKET, RI. 02895
Phone: 401 766-0900
Website: http://www.famresri.org/
Languages Spoken: english

Family Resources Community Action

Established in 1892, Family Resources Community Action (FRCA) is one of the oldest child serving and family support organizations in the state of Rhode Island. Dedicated to serving low-income families in Woonsocket and throughout Northern Rhode Island, FRCA has been at the vanguard in the development daycare, residential programming, foster care, mental health counseling and early childhood services to name a few.

Originally known as the Woonsocket Day Nursery and then Woonsocket Child and Family Services throughout much of the twentieth century, the agency was renamed Family Resources, Inc. in the early 1990’s to reflect it’s growing array of support services. In 1997, the agency began an affiliation with the Woonsocket Shelter Community Action Program (WSCAP) expanding the reach of the organization to serve the homeless and assist low-income persons with basic needs such as food, clothing, housing and utility crises. In addition, an employment and training program had been developed to that partnered with local business to improve the economic opportunities for individuals and families living in poverty.

In 2000, the affiliation between FRCA and WSCAP resulted in a merger between the two organizations to create Family Resources Community Action. The respective Boards of these organizations were merged into one creating a tri-partite entity composed of a third being low-income residents, a second third representing the public sector and the final portion private representatives. This composition is a federal statutory mandate of Community Action Agencies designed to facilitate the involvement of citizens residing and working in differing circumstances with a common purpose of improving the quality of life for persons and families living in poverty.

In 2002, subsequent to a year of affiliation and collaboration, the Agape Center, Inc. a small HIV/AIDS organization merged with FRCA. In over five years, the Agape Center has been responsible for identifying persons with HIV residing in Northern RI and developing a food pantry, education resources, transportation to medical appointments, weekly meals and other psychological and social supports. For persons living with HIV/AIDS in Woonsocket and nearby communities, Agape is viewed as a safe, confidential setting where they are treated with dignity and respect. As a result of the merger between FRCA and Agape, persons living with HIV/AIDS now have greater accessibility to the array of support the consolidated organization has to offer. In addition, in the summer of 2003, FRCA/Agape received its first contract from the RI Department of Health to provide case management services.

FRCA is divided into six service divisions that include:
1. Early Childhood Services
2. Housing and Shelter Services
3. Child Welfare Services
4. Employment and Training
5. Counseling and Family Support Services
6. HIV/AIDS Support Services

Well over 80% of the families and individuals served by FRCA live at or below the poverty level. The primary objectives of the organization include:

1. Improve the quality of life for families and individuals living in poverty.
2. Develop opportunities for economic self-sufficiency.
3. Support families with very young children early so as to insure school readiness.
4. Improve the safety and well being for children.
5. Assist persons living with HIV/AIDS in maintaining their health at the highest possible level.

Within the community, FRCA plays a primary role relative to serving low income families and individuals through services such as food distribution, emergency housing assistance, addressing utility crises, pharmaceutical concerns and clothing. The agency serves as the hub for persons having emergency food needs and works closely with a network of faith based food pantries providing vouchers to consumers that have this need. In addition, FRCA partners with the Department of Children Youth and Families in an effort to divert families away from the child welfare system and court involvement by providing emergency services. The agency works closely with DCYF through its foster care and shelter programs by caring for sibling groups and concurrently strengthening families in preparation for being reunified with their children or determining the need for other custodial arrangements such as adoption.

Owing to the array of services available through the agency and affiliations with local organizations many families are able to be reunified and remain intact. While FRCA has a philosophy that is comprehensive and family-centered, staff recognize that collaboration with other non-profits and systems be they child welfare, healthcare, education, mental health or housing is essential to insure that needs are addressed in a results oriented manner. To this end, FRCA works continuously at building positive relationships and sharing resources that can be used to strengthen families and the community.