The Orange County Family Success Alliance released their new strategic plan for 2019 until 2022.
Orange County has one of the highest costs of living in North Carolina along with one of the highest rates of income inequality. According to its new plan, the Orange County FSA hopes to break the cycle of poverty in Orange County and has begun efforts by working directly with the community.
This plan lays out the objectives and strategies for meeting its goals.
Starting in 2019, the FSA hopes to be able to connect more families with them and their partners. They outlined their plans in three goals: to make sure that children are healthy and prepared for school, to ensure child success in education and to involve families, neighbors and institutions in healthy childhood development.
FSA plans to meet these goals in specific ways, starting from educating families about how to have healthy births, supporting early learning for children, developing language skills and making health care accessible.
“I think the mission and vision are consistent with what the (Orange County) commissioners initially identified when we started the FSA," said Coby Jansen Austin, director of programs and policy at FSA. "What this plan does is focus more explicitly on the desire to uncover family power in driving equity and systems change. That’s really the most significant evolution. The family empowerment model is growing to meet families’ needs.”
The new plan isn't necessarily a change for the FSA, but it is a promise of its commitment to involving families in decision-making processes, Austin said.
One of the Orange County FSA’s partners is the Compass Center for Women and Families in Chapel Hill. According to the Compass Center’s website, its mission involves “increasing self-sufficiency and preventing domestic violence.”
Returning agency to underserved communities in Orange County is a high priority to both the Compass Center and the FSA, so the Compass Center is excited about the partnership.
“Partnering with FSA has enabled our organization to be responsive and nimble to the needs of those most impacted by systemic social problems here in Orange County,” said LaKiera Grimes, self-sufficiency programs director at the Compass Center. “The collaboration has provided a space for natural partnership and accountability, which has assisted our organization in identifying strengths and gaps in service provision. FSA also provides a supportive community with shared values that drives important social change here in our community.”
The FSA wants to give power to the community, including parents, caregivers and youth, according to its new plan. Jansen said the organization wants those who would benefit from its policies to be involved in the implementation of them.
The Orange County Literacy Council is another one of the FSA’s partners. Orange Literacy focuses on helping adults reach their educational goals by offering free services, from tutoring to English classes for parents with young children.
The FSA works with organizations like Orange Literacy to ensure they have enough resources and connections to meet their goals.
“Being part of a collaborative like FSA enables us to work with FSA navigators and to make connections and referrals for students and their families to other agencies that can link them to needed services and information,” said Lisa Bobst, family literacy program coordinator at Orange Literacy. “When the collaborative agencies work together with the families, we have a much better chance of helping families meet their goals and learn how to help themselves."
Efthymiou volunteers for the Compass Center as a translator.
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