Wednesday, November 26, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Family resource centers face cutbacks to services

family_reource_center_2_5_13

Martha Armstrong, her 4-year-old son Kered Armstrong, bottom left, and her 24-year-old daughter Tacara Burton, right. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | February 19, 2013 |

FAIRFIELD — Martha Armstrong can use a helping hand from time to time and finds one at the family resource center at Cleo Gordon Elementary School.

Armstrong has been a widow for three years and lives in a Tabor Avenue apartment with her 24-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son. She works at a local inventory company.

The family resource center has helped her find resources for rent payments, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. payments, clothing, transportation and even household cleaning supplies. On a recent day, Maria Gabbart of the center came to Armstrong’s apartment to talk about enrolling Armstrong’s son in kindergarten and to talk about child development and parenting.

“She (Gabbart) has a lot of answers when they’re needed.” Armstrong said. “When she doesn’t have the answers, she’ll find them.”

Now the family resource centers need a helping hand. They might be forced to drastically scale back on their services starting this summer, depending on what happens over the next few months.

Solano County has nine family resource centers spread across all seven cities to help needy families. Fairfield-Suisun has three centers that serve about 1,200 families annually. They are at Cleo Gordon and Anna Kyle elementary schools in Fairfield and Suisun Elementary School in Suisun City.

“The family resource centers are really unique in their own right,” county Principal Management Analyst Ron Grassi told the Solano County Board of Supervisors at its Dec. 11, 2012, meeting. “They’re put together with a web of financing.”

A key piece of the web is threatening to become unraveled. The county recently prioritized the way California Office of Child Abuse Prevention money is spent and the centers are not among the highest priorities. That could cost the centers about $348,000 annually.

Most at risk are the services family resource centers provide for families with children between ages 6 and 18. The centers would still get money from First 5 Solano, but must spend it on families with children age 5 and younger.

Should the potential budget cuts become a reality this summer, the family resource centers at Cleo Gordon and Suisun elementary schools could close, a county report said. Anna Kyle Elementary School would then provide all the services for the Fairfield-Suisun area.

While the centers are within a few miles of each other, the distance can be a factor for families, said Zoila Perez-Sanchez, coordinator for the Fairfield-Suisun centers.

“Most of our families, the problem is transportation,” Perez-Sanchez said. “That point becomes a challenge for us.”

Dividing up dwindling health and social services dollars has become a way of life for the county amid the Great Recession and its aftermath. A recent county assessment for certain state dollars placed substance abuse, mental health and kinship support services above the services provided at the family resource centers.

“I never wanted it to be a fight between whether a family resource center is valuable or not,” Health and Social Services Director Patrick Duterte told the Board of Supervisors on Dec. 11, 2012. “It is valuable. It is part of a whole system. The problem is the dollars are just limited.”

Family resource centers help stop needy families from approaching a cliff, while money is going to programs serving families about to fall off the cliff, Duterte said.

Perez-Sanchez sees another side to this prioritization of money. Without the family resource centers, more families would be at the cliff’s edge, she said.

“It’s a Catch-22,” Perez-Sanchez said.

The centers have already gotten a helping hand from the Solano County Board of Supervisors. The budget cuts would have kicked in Jan. 15, but the board on Dec. 11 2012, approved spending $160,000 to keep the centers at their present strength through the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

That’s a one-time measure that buys time. Supervisor Jim Spering said he wants the board to discuss the bigger picture and what reorganizations might be possible.

“I would like to look at the service we’re trying to provide and then decide if this is the best vehicle,” Spering said. “Too often, we’re trying to protect the organization but not protect the services we’re trying to provide.”

The county will also use the time gained by the $160,000 to look for alternate funding sources.

County officials are working with family resource center officials to look at the situation, county spokesman Stephen Pierce said. No date has yet been set to take the topic back to the Board of Supervisors, he said.

Jennifer Ramirez uses the family resource center located at Anna Kyle Elementary School. She is a single mother raising five children. She cleans homes to make money, but lately has had trouble finding a job amid the bad economy.

“Four years ago, I could clean three houses a week and make enough to live,” Ramirez said. “Now, I can’t get a home a week.”

Ramirez came on a recent day to get help enrolling her 3-year-old in a preschool program. In the past, the center has helped her with such things as finding programs to help pay utility bills.

She shook her head when she contemplated her life without the occasional help she gets from the center.

“I don’t know,” she said. “I really don’t know. I appreciate everything they do.”

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or beberling@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • LilFebruary 18, 2013 - 10:48 pm

    Why not have a mobile kind of center? It can travel from neighborhood to neighborhood with staff and resources inside (like the old book mobiles). I think these services are important but maybe we need to think outside the box.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JuslistenFebruary 19, 2013 - 12:04 am

    I believe these resources are important for those in need also, however in this case, I hope that the 24 year old daughter is contributing financially to the household as well. My 22 year old lives at home goes to school and works full time. We have set some financial responsibilities here at home on top of her own financial obligations. Considering that the subject is a widow, she might also be collecting some Social Security benefit if the father had been working at any time during his life?? Makes me wonder if her need is really a need ....but then again the article doesn't tell her life story so can't judge.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

     
    Groups distribute Thanksgiving food

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

     
     
    County fair proposal, budget topics of scrutiny

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

    Police: Vehicle burglaries not new for Fairfield

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

     
    Vacaville PD seeks VIPS program volunteers

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A4

     
    Fairfield police offer free gun locks

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

     
    Fairfield police investigate shooting

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

     
    Library schedules soap-making program

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A4

     
    Science comes to libraries – for all to see

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

    Soroptimists seek award applicants

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

     
     
    Nichols plans free family concert in Napa

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A7

    Church’s holiday soiree on Vacaville calendar

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A7

     
    Fairfield police log: Nov. 23, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

     
    Fairfield police log: Nov. 22, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

    Suisun City police log: Nov. 23, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A9, 2 Comments

     
    Suisun City police log: Nov. 22, 2014

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

    Suisun City police log: Nov. 24, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

     
    Weather for Nov. 26, 2014

    By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

    .

    US / World

     
    Anger at Ferguson case based on emotion, evidence

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 11 Comments

    Tough to make a case against police in shootings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 8 Comments

     
    Protesters return to riot-scarred Ferguson streets

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 8 Comments

    In Seattle, tofu turkeys get Thanksgiving pardons

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

     
    Los Angeles freeway sign unveiled with typo

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Heirloom ring flushed; sewer workers retrieve it

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Ohio family recovers missing Sasquatch statue

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Auction fetches $28K for 1st batch of new bourbon

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Agreement: LA jails to improve wheelchair access

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Window washer fights for life after 11-story fall

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Lawmakers target Golden Gate Bridge sidewalk fee

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

    Cosby philanthropy shadowed by sexual allegations

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    Oakland police arrest more than 40 protesters

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

    Arkansas, Mississippi gay marriage bans overturned

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

     
    Calorie count to appear with many prepared foods

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

    8 shoes of Holocaust victims stolen in Poland

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

     
    Activists: Syrian strikes kill 60 in IS-held city

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

    AP sources: Top candidate for defense job bows out

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

     
    WWII Museum opening new pavilion in New Orleans

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

    Police: Students ran high school prostitution ring

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

     
    Wet basements in Buffalo as flooding fears ease

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

    Soldiers to spend Thanksgiving in Ebola isolation

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

     
    2 teen female bombers kill more than 40 in Nigeria

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

    Official: Afghan president orders military review

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

     
    .

    Living

    Community Calendar: Nov. 25, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: Nov. 26, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Today in History: Nov. 26, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Horoscope for Nov. 26, 2014

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

    The man I’m seeing makes no effort to get to know my kids

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

     
    A do-ahead cornmeal biscuit to sop up your gravy

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

     
    Fresh take on an herb-roasted Thanksgiving turkey

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    Turn turkey leftovers into a healthy dinner salad

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Entertainment

    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    ‘Birdman’ leads Spirit Awards nominations

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    .

    Sports

    Vacaville Christian wins 3-0, advances to state quarterfinals

    By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Curry powers Warriors past Heat 114-97

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    49ers rookies shine in big roles, out of necessity

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Cousins, Kings beat Pelicans 99-89

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Red Sox bring in Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    NFL, union discuss personal conduct policy

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Bama, FSU, Oregon, Miss St keep playoff rankings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Messi sets European record with 74 goals

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Judge OKs Hernandez trial delay in 2012 killings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Kurt Busch wins delay of Delaware court hearing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Giants third base coach Tim Flannery retires

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    AP source: Left-hander Jon Lester, Giants to meet

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Pats are unanimous No. 1 in AP Pro32 rankings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    .

    Business

    New iPhones push Apple’s market cap past $700B

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    Twitter lets merchants offer deals to its users

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

    US economy posts even stronger growth in Q3

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    Thanksgiving travel woes? There’s an app for that

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

    US home price gains slow for 10th straight month

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    Barbie dethroned by Team Elsa

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

    Rain, snow could mess up Thanksgiving travel

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Glenita Reyes McLaughliin

    By Daily Republic | From Page: A4

     
    Leslie “Esi” Gros

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5