New family resource Web site for Vigo County to be launched

April 13 2007

A new Web site will make it easier to find services and agencies that help families in Vigo County. The "Family Connections" Web site and resource guide will be introduced at the "And How are the Children? II" community meeting, which is from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on April 19, at Landsbaum Center for Health Education, 1433 N. 6 ½ St.

The Web site was put together by the CARE Council — a community collaboration of Indiana State University and other organizations — initiated after the first “And How are the Children?” community meeting in December 2005.

“The Family Connections Web site is an online guide that allows the users — family and child professionals, clergy, human resource managers and families — to search by agency name, topic or type of service provided or by keyword,” said Rhonda Impink, associate professor of social work at Indiana State University. “Its purpose is to help parents and professionals to become more aware of the services for children and families in the Wabash Valley.”

More than 200 child and family services and programs in Vigo County are included on the Web site at www.familyconnectionsin.org. The guide provides specific information on each agency included on the site, such as address, hours of operation, whether the location is near a bus stop, whether it is wheelchair-accessible and the eligibility requirements to receive their services, she said.

The meeting also will discuss “gaps” in services; relate the problems reported by parents in accessing child and family services; and relate the obstacles that child and family services reported families experience in accessing services.

“We hope that individuals attending the meeting on April 19 will learn more about gaps in coverage and will hopefully become involved in helping to develop plans to address those gaps,” said Liz O’Laughlin, member of the CARE Council and associate professor of psychology at ISU.

For example, O’Laughlin noted, there are several agencies in town that offer periodic parenting education/parent support groups, but there is no coordinated schedule across agencies.

“So we may have two or three groups all running from September to December, but no groups available from January to May,” she said. “There is clear need for more coordination among agencies for this service, as well as some other services.”

The last portion of the meeting will give participants a chance to develop a plan of action to address the mentioned problems for families and family services.

Information tables, sponsored by child and family agencies, will be on display prior to the meeting.

The next project of the CARE Council is to plan and coordinate events for 2008 as the “Year of the Child.”

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Contact: Liz O’Laughlin, associate professor of psychology, Indiana State University, (812) 237-2455 or lizo@indstate.edu

Writer: Megan Anderson, media relations intern, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3790, kspanuello@isugw.indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

A new family resource Web site for Vigo County will be launched at "And How are the Children?" community meeting April 19. The departments of social work and psychology are partners in the CARE Council.

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