Building a Hopeful Future Together

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Here at the Sauer FF, we agree with Prevent Child Abuse America: “child abuse and neglect are preventable, and all communities benefit when children and families are well supported.” If we’re serious about prevention, then we need to ensure all children and families have the resources and support they need to reach their full potential.

In 2023, the Minnesota Legislature awarded $7.1M in funding to develop and implement a statewide network of community resource centers. Community resource centers are community-based coordinated points of entry that provide culturally responsive, relationship-based service navigation and other supportive services for expecting and parenting families and youth. They focus on ensuring that families have equitable access to programs and services that promote protective factors and support children and families.

If that sounds a little familiar, you’re right! This new government funding intersects with the work Sauer FF has been doing since 2021 to help Counties get upstream in preventing child abuse and neglect through the development of Family Resource Centers (FRCs). Since the first grant to help implement FRCs in Scott County, the Sauer FF has made grants to help another 15 MN Counties get started on the journey, and we look forward to welcoming more to the community of practice in 2024.

In addition to programs and services that promote protective factors, FRCs put families at the heart of their work and actively seek their input through Parent Advisory Councils. This means that it’s the families who determine the resources and supports they need, and their experiences shape the services offered in their communities.

Last week, the Department of Human Services opened the RFP for the Community Resource Center funds and is seeking Proposals from qualified responders. The RFP aims to help provide multiple access points for programs and services that promote well-being. Grants are available to a broad array of entities including, but not limited to, community-based organizations, local governments, Tribal Nations, counties, school districts, community action agencies and collaboratives. We encourage you to think about who you know in community and share this opportunity widely.

It is wonderful to see the State of MN being proactive for children and families. At Sauer FF we are excited about the work that is to come and to see communities demonstrate this vision in the RFP: Prioritizing the placement of these programs in communities experiencing inequities and communities with high child neglect reporting will increase family and community protective factors and reduce child welfare system involvement.

– Emma