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At-risk parenting resource reopens in Turlock
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After having to shut its doors in October due to loss of funding, the Turlock Family Network offices will reopen on Monday.

The Turlock Family Network is 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.

In October those young families were told to find somewhere else to get the parenting skills needed to stop the abuse cycle.

“Community members recognized the need was still high in the community and pulled together funds,” said TFN Director Beverly Spielman about the program’s comeback.

TFN is the only parenting program in the Turlock area, and the number of families the network helped has been on the rise 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 2011, 128 adults and 193 children participated in TFN classes.

“There was a lot of cry for the program to come back,” Spielman said. “I received quite a few calls from other agencies after our closing. People were calling and saying, ‘I need a parenting class and I don’t have the money to get to Modesto.’”

When the classes resume on July 12 there will be some changes. The prenatal class has been renamed “What to Expect” and will focus more on the questions and concerns pregnant women and their partners may have about the labor and birthing experience at the hospital, said Spielman.

The young mothers class has also been completed changed. It’s now called “Hands On” and the first hour is with mother and child getting hands on with developmental level of games and toys in an effort to increase the quality of interaction. If mother is expressing she can’t get the child to play right, volunteers will step in to model interaction for the mother.

The second hour of the young mothers class will have the parents and children splitting up. The children will play together under supervision, while the mothers focus on nurturing parenting education.

A “Family Hands” class will also be offered for those caregivers who aren’t necessarily moms.

“We just realized it’s more than mom and dad or just one parent raising the child. We received calls from people raising their grandchild, niece or nephew who said it’s been so long they don’t know what to do,” Spielman said.

Turlock Family Network’s in –home mentoring program will run as it has in the past, offering more one-on-one education for parents.

The network is planning a volunteer training course in late August, as well as a fundraising drive-thru dinner at Neto’s Catering on Aug. 7. For more information on parenting classes, volunteering with the network or to purchase drive-thru dinner tickets, call 668-3363.

The Turlock Family Network is located in the Salvation Army building at 893 Lander Ave., in Suite 104. The office is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and by appointment on Fridays.