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In the Fall of 2018, MEND started its first case management program – the Family Support Program (FSP). Our hypothesis was that with intensive 1:1 social work support, guidance and resource connections, families in poverty could reduce their dependence on MEND’s and other safety net services and gain greater stability and independence.
The overarching goal of FSP is to build family self-sufficiency and disrupt cycles of generational poverty. In the program’s pilot year, MEND hired its first Licensed Clinic Social Worker (LCSW) and focused on families with long-time use of our services and/or who were in crisis requiring additional supports. Joining the social worker was a team of 4 MSW student interns from CSUN.
Together, they provided 1:1 services to 18 families in the inaugural year. Each family participated in an individualized assessment to set key goals to improve their situation. They faced significant barriers such as un/under-employment; housing challenges; legal issues; histories of trauma due to domestic violence, child molestation, or substance abuse; and so on. In April 2019, FSP held its first client celebration.
Most families needed additional help to achieve their individualized goals, however 5 families reached their goals and no longer needed MEND services to make ends meet. We are so encouraged by this result that we have hired an additional LCSW and have expanded the program enrollment target to 53 for FY 2019-20.
|Family Support Program||Target Population|
Case managed services
Mend clients with families and readiness to commit to an intensive case management program.
She came to the Family Support Program after she had increased her visits to the Foodbank. In meeting with Rosa and her family, we learned that her husband, the sole provider of the family, had tragically passed away. Rosa felt lost and didn’t know how to support her 3 children. We helped her create a plan to regain control, and she prioritized getting a job to support her family.
She was nervous to start her job search but we showed her the ropes and were there with guidance and encouragement whenever she needed it. Rosa has since found a job, and she loves it! Because of the increased income, Rosa no longer needs to visit the MEND Foodbank. She is especially proud about this. “This is the first time in a long time that my family hasn’t needed the MEND Foodbank,” she says, beaming. We too are proud of her accomplishment.
Overwhelmed when she joined the program. She was anxious, felt alone, and her family was struggling to make ends meet. Despite her anxiety, she trusted our team and shared struggles that she kept hidden from other people in her life. Her first priority was to find a good job. She was very nervous but she enrolled in a caregiver course. Not only was she able to complete the course but she also made friends along the way.
She told us that she was surprised that her new friends admired her dedication and courage because she didn’t see herself that way. With her new certification, Vanessa got a job as a caregiver. Her family is now able to put some money into savings, and is working towards a new long term goal of finding a new home.