Responding to Families’ Needs


At Parklawn Family Resource Center, staff knows that a family’s needs don’t arise just between the hours of 8am and 5pm and not just when parenting classes are scheduled. And this is where responsive services come into play. Welcoming walk-ins and staffing a warm-line, Parklawn hears the needs of families and moves to meet them.

For example, Parklawn Family Resource Center recently re-evaluated their programming schedule when families brought concerns about conflicts with Head Start scheduling to light. Families described Head Start time as time for their child’s early learning and the family resource center as their place for family. And so, Parklawn sprang into action, modifying their schedule because why should a family faced with many difficult decisions have to choose between early learning and family support.

Andrea Alfke, parent educator at Parklawn, further describes the center’s services. She acknowledges the stressors that families may be dealing with in that it can be very difficult to leave the day behind and learn. This is why she approaches her work in a way that intentionally combines education with support. She ensures that families have the venue to talk about what needs to be talked about so that they can then be ready to absorb more information. Andrea reaffirms the responsive role of the family resource center saying, “We hold mom and mom learns how to hold baby”.

Learn more about Family Resource Centers on the SFTA website.