FIRC expands programs for parents |

FIRC expands programs for parents

DILLON – The Family & Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC) expanded its programs Sept. 1, so now all parents can get help.Its Families United program offers home visits every six months for the first five years of a child’s life. Professionals give parents resources and information about different stages of child development. For example, a “Language Links” visit provides information on language development, transitions to more independence, hand-eye coordination and toilet training.In the past, FIRC only offered a pre- and post-natal visit to families, under the Warm Welcome program. Now, families can benefit from the Families United program – even if they move to Summit County with a 2-year-old and start the program then.The second program expansion FIRC started Sept. 1 is the Parents as Teacher model. Families with identified risk factors receive more intensive home visitation through the program. Previously, Youth and Family Services (a government agency) led the effort. Parents as Teachers is a national social and emotional program for families with kids ages 3 to 5 years old. It maintains that parents are kids’ first and best teachers, and it gives parents resources to prepare their kids for a successful education.Every month, professionals meet with parents to screen children’s developmental progress and provide age-appropriate activities parents can practice with their children. For example, one activity may be recognizing letters on common food products, such as Cheerios. Parents also can call FIRC for emotional and disciplinary support.”It’s especially important around second-language learners – to have them ready to learn in English,” said Christina Carlson, FIRC’s executive director.What does FIRC do?Carlson also has streamlined FIRC’s programs so people can more easily understand what FIRC does.The three main resources FIRC offers are:• Families United: A home visitation program available to parents with children between the ages of 0 and 5. This includes visits every six months up to age 5, visits through the Parents as Teachers program, and visits through the Head Start Program (FIRC is one of four partners in the Head Start Program, which offers preschool for children of low-income, high-risk families). Families United offers home visitation, parent meetings, family activities and parenting classes.• General assistance: FIRC provides translation services, resource and referrals (ranging from drug and alcohol classes to information on how to become a licensed childcare provider), cultural adjustment help, case management and emergency financial assistance to any Summit County resident. Financial assistance may include rental, energy, medical, dental transportation or other appropriate short-term assistance, but FIRC places emphasis on empowering people to take care of themselves.• Summit Thrift & Treasure: This retail store provides funding for FIRC as well as a place for people to shop and donate unused items. It also offers shopping vouchers for volunteers.For more information, call FIRC at (970) 513-1170.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at

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