BUCKHANNON – Lori Ulderich-Harvey, a representative from the Upshur County Family Resource Network, attended the Rotary meeting on Tuesday, June 11 to address a multitude of programs that the FRN assists throughout the county. Harvey’s presentation was to help bring awareness to the FRN and the indirect services they provide throughout the community in various programs.
The Family Resource Network is a social services organization that responds to the needs and opportunities of the community.The FRN partners with community members and the public, as well as private organizations to develop ground breaking projects and provide necessary resources throughout the county to improve services for children and families. Harvey stated, “The FRN in an indirect service provider, their objective is to look at the needs of the community and respond to those needs.”
The Family Resource Network have general membership meetings the second Monday of each month at noon at the Stockert Youth Center and anyone is welcome to attend. Harvey stated, “The FRN Board of Directors must consist of a member from the WV Department of Health and Human Resources, the Upshur County Board of Education, and Appalachian Community Health.” Other members of the FRN board include a representative from Women’s Aid in Crisis, the Happy Project, Stockert Youth Center, Dr. Reed and several community members. Ultimately, the board should consist of families being served by the FRN, but those families are usually working through the day and are unable to attend the meetings. Harvey stated, “The board is a very diverse group and the meetings usually consist of 20 to 30 attendees.”
The FRN puts out a continuous quality survey each year and the results of the survey for this year yielded an overall score of 94% according to Harvey. The FRN currently serves on several local board of directors, including The James W. Curry Public Library Advisory Board, the Nursing Volunteers of Upshur County, and the Upshur County Tobacco Prevention Coalition. Harvey said, “Since there is no funding for the Tobacco Prevention Coalition for three years in a row, all of the money spent on this program is their own personal money.” Harvey made mention of the Partners in Prevention (PIP)and their support in providing pinwheels, which are strategically placed throughout the community, as well as the memorial flag. Both the pinwheels and the flag commemorate child deaths during the month of April which is Child Abuse Awareness Month.
There are currently over 7,200 children placed in the foster care system throughout the state of West Virginia. This number does not include children that are placed in kinship placements with family members that are not receiving benefits to help care for displaced children. Harvey is the head of the PIP Team in Upshur County.
The FRN is currently working on implementing a foster care and adoption support group in the Upshur County community. Harvey stated, “The foster care and adoption programs are near and dear to my heart.” Currently, the FRN has three grants from Partners in Prevention to spend on child abuse awareness events and activities. Harvey stated, “The FRN is focused more on foster care and adoption issues because it is an epidemic in our area.” Harvey concluded her presentation to the Rotary with a visual she created using 72 socks attached to a rope that stretched across the room. Each sock represents 100 children in order to give the group a visual appreciation of the over 7,200 children currently in the foster care system in the state of West Virginia.