Senator Spilka Addresses First Public Hearing On New Community Network of Family Resource Centers
Today, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services held its first public information and dialogue session regarding the design of a new statewide, community-based network of Family Resource Centers, Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) announced. The meeting, held this morning at Malden City Hall, was the first of four public hearings this month soliciting input on the specific services the centers will provide for troubled children and their families and the staff resources needed.
“Families need access to support services within their own communities,” Spilka said. “These Family Resource Centers will make a huge difference in the lives of the thousands of children and families who need assistance each year, and I am thrilled to be a part of developing resources that are effective, useful and accessible for families and communities.”
The Family Resource Centers are part of the implementation of the CHINS reform bill (An Act Regarding Families and Children Engaged in Services), legislation championed by Senator Spilka and Representative Paul Donato (D-Medford) for several years and signed into law on August 7, 2012. The legislation completely overhauls the current system for handling children who consistently get in trouble at home or at school, including runaways and students who are habitually truant.
The CHINS reform law transforms the 38-year-old CHINS program that critics say unnecessarily put troubled children in front of a judge before seeking services to help the children and their families. The law also eliminates the inconsistent juvenile court-based system and replaces it with a statewide community-based intervention network that would integrate and promote school and community services for children and families.