In 1993, the Tennessee General Assembly recognized the increasing number of children experiencing a combination of high risk environments as a result of poverty, families with substance abuse, domestic violence and dysfunctional families. In order to establish a network of prevention and early intervention programs, the General Assembly passed legislation granting local education agencies (LEAs) the authority to establish Family Centers (FRCs). Schools cannot solve all the problems alone. However, schools are in a prime position to be the catalyst in networking effective prevention and intervention programs. The FRCs work proactively to establish collaborative partnerships with parents, communities and business leaders, state and local service agencies, public and private organizations.
The law granting authority to administer FRCs mandates each center be guided by an advisory council composed of no less than fifty percent parents from the community to be served, and that each center be directed by a full time director.
FRCs must follow the guidelines adopted by the Joint Select Committee on Children and Youth of the General Assembly. Those guidelines require the FRC play an instrumental role in prioritizing the greatest needs of the community. The goals of each center focus on solutions to the needs unique to the community served. Each center director must implement strategies to fulfill the adopted goals. In addition to the adoption of goals, the FRC advisory councils are responsible for adopting annual budgets and monitoring the effectiveness of the programs.
There are one hundred three (103) FRCs serving students in seventy-eight (78) school systems in sixty-five (65) counties.
Each of the one hundred three communities is unique. The FRC structure is formed by the community, for the community, through the guidance of the FRC advisory council. The greatest needs, the target populations, and the available local resources vary from community to community. Therefore, each of the one hundred three centers varies in goals and implementation strategies.
FRCs do share a unified mission: to assist families through information and training, and to help families learn to resolve problems through the collaborative efforts of many disciplines within the community (educational, medical, psychological, business and social services).
Jan Bushing, Director of School-Based Support Services
(Compliance with Health and Safety Rules)
See Contacts List for more information.