Family Resource Centres
There are 108 communities supported through the Child and Family Agency's Family and Community Services Resource Centre Programme providing services and supports to local communities. Through its established network of 106 Centres nationwide, and two outreach Centres, the FRC programme is Ireland’s largest family support programme delivering universal services to families in disadvantaged areas across the country based on a life-cycle approach.
The aim of the FRC programme is to combat disadvantage and improve the functioning of the family unit. Each FRC operates autonomously working inclusively with individuals, families, communities, and both statutory and non statutory agencies. FRCs are an integral part of the Child and Family Agency's Local Area Pathways model and act as a first step to community participation and social inclusion. The programme emphasises involving local communities in tackling the problems they face, and creating successful partnerships between voluntary and statutory agencies at community level.
A central feature of the FRC programme is the involvement of local people in identifying needs and developing needs-led responses. FRCs involve people from marginalised groups and areas of disadvantage on their voluntary management committees. This approach ensures that each FRC is rooted in the community and this, in turn, makes it a vehicle for delivering other programmes in the community. FRCs are participative and empowering organisations that support families while building the capacity and leadership of local communities.
FRCs provides a range of universal and targeted services and development opportunities that address the needs of families. These can include:
- The provision of information, advice and support to target groups and families. Information concerning the range of services and development options available locally and advice on accessing rights and entitlements is also extended. FRCs act as a focal point for onward referrals to main stream service providers.
- Delivering education courses and training opportunities.
- The establishment and maintenance of new community groups to meet local needs and the delivery of services at local level (for example, childcare facilities, after-school clubs, men’s groups, etc.)
- The provision of counselling and support to individuals and groups.
- Developing capacity and leadership within communities.
- Supporting personal and group development.
- Practical assistance to individuals and community groups such as access to information technology and office facilities.
- Practical assistance to existing community groups such as help with organisational structures, assistance with accessing funding or advice on how to address specific social issues.
- Supporting networking within the community.
- Contributing to Policy work.
The Family Support Agency developed a Strategic Framework for Family Support within the Family and Community Services Resource Centre Programme in May 2011. This was later revised in January 2013 taking account of the Report of the Task Force on the Child and Family Support Agency published in July 2012. This strategic framework is informed by our vision to support families, communities, and individuals through FRCs.
- Click here to download a copy of the Strategic Framework for Family Support.
- Click here to check the location of your nearest Family Resource Centre
The FRCs are supported by two Regional support agencies, Framework and West Training. These support agencies play a key role in promoting good practice within the programme and providing technical support, advice and training to FRCs. They also support the monitoring of projects on behalf of the Child and Family Agency.
Five Specialist Support Agencies support the FRC Programme. They are contracted to provide support, advice and training for the FRCs across a range of areas, including disability awareness and staff/volunteer training in personal advocacy for people with disabilities (DESSA), staff/volunteer training and awareness in terms of encouraging Traveller participation (Pavee Point), supporting families dealing with domestic violence and promoting the Code of Practice (Women’s Aid), supporting family members dealing with drug use (Family Support Network), supporting and enabling FRCs to embed arts based community development in their work ( Blue Drum).
The Family Resource Centre National Forum (FRCNF) is a support network which works with all FRCs. This national network is a valuable asset in the overall operation of the programme. It ensures a representative voice at national level and coherence within the Programme.
If you require any further information in relation to the FRC Programme please contact Child and Family Agency, Family & Community Support Services, Floor 5, Brunel Building, Heuston South Quarter, Dublin 8 on 01 7718500.