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At-risk parenting resource network closes its doors

POSTED October 4, 2011 7:29 p.m.

For the past 13 years the Turlock Family Network has been a resource for young mothers and fathers — many of whom have come from abusive backgrounds or are recovering from drug and alcohol addictions. The network provides parenting skills through a variety of programs including prenatal classes, weekly parenting classes and an in-home mentoring program.

As of Oct. 31 those young families will have to find somewhere else to get the parenting skills needed to stop the abuse cycle.

“We just can’t find any funding,” said TFN Director Beverly Spielman.

The network informed its community partners on Tuesday that due to lack of funding, the private nonprofit agency will close its doors at the end of the month.

“I would love to see it continue, unfortunately, there’s just no funding. We held multiple fundraisers from a wine and cheese event to a garden tour and a few Neto’s drive-through dinners. We just recently did a campaign mailer with the goal of raising $20,000 to fund the program for the next two years — we didn’t even reach 20 percent of that goal,” Spielman said.

Turlock Unified School Board trustee Eileen Hamilton is the current Turlock Family Network Board Chair and has been an advocate for educating young parents for over 20 years. She started out teaching a teen parenting class at Turlock High School in 1990. Then, in 1998, she became a founding volunteer for the Turlock Family Network helping to expand the opportunities for parenting education in the community.

“I feel it is an incredibly worthwhile program for the community,” Hamilton said. “It’s the only local program that teaches a parenting class in the evening, which is very important for working families.”

The number of families TFN has helped has increased over the past three years. In 2009, 64 adults and 94 children were served by TFN; in 2010, those numbers increased to 138 adults and 223 children. As of August this year, 128 adults and 193 have participated in TFN classes.

One of those helped by the TFN is Stephanie King-Relaford, who learned about the network and its parenting classes when Spielman gave a presentation to her sober living program. She decided to attend the parenting classes, “to get a better understanding of the kids’ needs and how I could better meet their needs.”

Spielman said TFN is referring families at risk to the Turlock Family Resource Center and the Turlock Salvation Army.

For more information, contact the Turlock Family Network until Oct. 31 at 668-3363 or e-mail Spielman at beverlys_tfn@att.net.

To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail khacker@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.

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