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From Sacramento to Savannah, cities are doing what it takes to aid family life.

Local governments are collaborating with the private sector, non-profit organizations, and citizens to support families and enhance community living.

The following programs are examples of such efforts. Several of these are cited in NLC's 1992 Futures Report on "Families & Communities." Other city Programs have been recognized by NLC's 1992 Innovation Awards competition or the John F. Kennedy School of Government's Innovation Awards Program.

Boulder, Colo.

Boulder, Colo. (pop. 83,312) provides for its families by offering a continuum of services at the Boulder Family Resource Schools. City government, private businesses, and non-profit organizations have pooled efforts and resources to offer a long term preventive program for Boulder's children and families. Supportive services are offered at two local schools, providing a single access point where families can receive services such as family counseling and child care or attend health workshop.

Bedford, Mass.

The Department of Recreation in the City of Bedford (pop. 13,067) is addressing the child care needs of its families. Recently, the town's Department of Recreation assumed responsibility for a Before and After School Care Program for children. The Department works closely with the town's schools to coordinate the program.

Phoenix, Ariz.

The Neighborhood Fight Back Program, formed by city departments, private businesses, and citizens in Phoenix, Ariz., is a collaborative effort to address the urban problems facing this city of 983,403 residents. The program targets a designated urban area with $80,000 in funding and a temporary increase in city services. Projects which have evolved from the program include a Drug Free Zone, a Streetscape Project, and a new baseball team for youths.

Owensboro, Ky.

A Program which addresses the need for intergenerational family support exists in Owensboro, Ky. (pop. 53,549). As work schedules become more demanding and family structures change, the extended family is frequently more involved in the caring for children. The program, "Grandma and Grandpa Got the Kid." is designed to assist grandparent caring for their grandchildren. A panel of grandparents and municipal agency representatives provide information about available services.

Des Moines, Iowa

In Des Moines, Iowa (pop. 193,187), the SUCCESS program is aimed at children, Youth, and families who are "at risk." By providing a variety of human services in the school system, such as health care, counseling, and family services, the program is able to address the needs of its youth and families in a comprehensive manner.

Dallas, Tex.

A program which received an Award of Distinction in NLC's 1992 Innovation Awards is the Dallas, Tex. (pop. 1,006,880) Children's Advocacy Center. To avoid duplication of needed social services, the Center brings together the public and private sectors, citizens and non-profit groups to create a child sensitive intervention system. Police, Prosecutors, therapists and medical personnel work as a team to provide immediate and long-term treatment and ensure proper investigation of physical abuse cases.

Savannah, Ga.

"Showcase Savannah," a neighborhood revitalization program in Savannah, Ga. (pop. 137,560), links the delivery of city services with community organizing. Local residents enter into a contract with the City of Savannah to maintain improvements in their neighborhood and take steps toward crime prevention. This collaboration encourages citizens to take an interest in improving living conditions in their community.

Sacramento, Calif.

Sacramento, Calif. (pop. 369,365) was the first county in California to offer a "family friendly" parental leave program for its municipal workforce. Employees welcoming new family members are entitled to 160 hours of paid leave. This policy enables new parents to adjust to their changing lives and to new family situations.

New Elizabethton, Tenn.

The public sector, non-profit groups, and community residents in New Elizabethton, Tenn. (pop. 11,931) have raised fun and shared resources to construct a new library in their city. The new Carter County Public Library will serve to benefit children and families in the community, providing both educational and recreational services.

Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine (pop. 64,358) offers a variety of services to homeless, single parent, and other needy families in the area through "Project Self-Sufficiency." Education, training, and counseling services are provided by approximately 23 public or private agencies in the City. Case managers connect families to specific services and programs and advocate on their behalf when necessary.

Evanston, Ill.

Collaboration is also the key to success in Evanston, Ill. A Teen Parenting Network helps young mothers complete high school, attend parenting classes, and obtain health services and employment counseling. City departments, elementary and high schools, and a non-profit youth and teen parent organization are all involved in providing these services to strengthen and provide for families.
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Title Annotation:Sacramento, California; Savannah, Georgia
Author:Finegold, Allyn
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Aug 9, 1993
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