Families in need come to the FRC seeking information, counseling and support, access to food and healthcare, employment, immigration assistance, housing/rent support, and other services. Many come at a time of family stress or crisis, seeking to avoid homelessness, increase their resiliency, gain parenting support, and more. Others are welcomed with educational and volunteer opportunities to build new skills and friendships. Our many community partners offer families a wide range of services on-site.
After the devastating Sonoma County fires, the FRC is assisting families burdened by resource shortages - whether due to loss of employment, wages, or from expenses incurred offering housing to family and friends who were forced to evacuate. Even a few days of lost work can make it difficult to cover rent for families working in low paying service sector jobs.
The FRC supports many families headed by parents with low education levels who strain to read or write at an elementary level in any language. They struggle to understand and access community and government programs. Others need help in navigating the school bureaucracy and benefit from a range of parenting strategies targeted to better support their children’s academic success.
Our three part-time FRC staff - two bilingual family mentors and a half-time coordinator - respond quickly to the varied and changing needs of local families. Before the fires, the new federal immigration enforcement and detention policies caused panic among families throughout our school district. The fear of deportation and forced family separation led the FRC to offer family preparedness planning for fearful families, Know Your Rights workshops and co-locate non-profit immigration legal consultations on-site (unavailable previously in Petaluma.) The numbers of local immigrants seeking to become US citizens has surged, and our recent citizenship application workshops have been oversubscribed.