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What is a Family Resource Centre (FRC)?

With the welcome expansion of the Family Resource Centre Programme and looking forward to the future development of our work the National Forum of Family Resource Centres is issuing this paper to clarify the core elements of an FRC and our programme.

The contract between the then Family Support Agency and individual FRCs provides a clear historical background on the essential requirements to becoming a Family Resource Centre. These operating principles were transferred to Tusla under the creation of the CFA Act 2014. Some of the core elements are outlined below:

Working Model

What is a Family Resource Centre?

FRCs are located within a community-based model of family support and this model is at the heart of the Programme. The centrality of community development in informing the approaches, values and methods underpinning the work of FRCs is a defining feature of their contribution. A further defining characteristic of FRCs is that they are managed by local voluntary management committees, which are critical in facilitating meaningful participation within communities and in ensuring local knowledge and accountability.1 FRCs have an open door policy.

A central feature of the FRC programme is the involvement of local people in identifying needs and developing needs-led responses. FRCs are participative and empowering organisations that support families while building the capacity and leadership of local communities. FRCs provide a range of universal and targeted services and development opportunities that address the needs of families.2

  • The provision of information, advice and support to target groups and families. Information concerning the range of services and development options available locally and advice on accessing rights and entitlements is also extended. FRCs act as a focal point for onward referrals to main stream service providers.
  • Delivering education courses and training opportunities.
  • The establishment and maintenance of new community groups to meet local needs and the delivery of services at local level (for example, childcare facilities, after-school clubs, men’s groups, etc.)
  • The provision of counselling and support to individuals and groups.
  • Developing capacity and leadership within communities.
  • Supporting personal and group development.
  • Practical assistance to individuals and community groups such as access to information technology and office facilities.

Work Plan

Up to 2017 funding was made available to FRCs on foot of 3 year workplans drawn up in consultation with local communities and agreed with the Family Support Agency. Funding has traditionally been allocated to Family Resource Centres based on staffing and the agreement of this 3 Year Strategic Plan and annual Implementation Plan. FRCs continue to engage in local consultations to undertake their planning.

  • Practical assistance to existing community groups such as help with organisational structures, assistance with accessing funding or advice on how to address specific social issues.
  • Supporting networking within the community.
  • Contributing to Policy work.

Legal Status and Structure

In order to be eligible for funding FRCs must have formed a company limited by guarantee. The members of the board of directors shall be drawn predominantly from the community of intended beneficiaries and shall consist of people who have fist-hand experience of poverty and disadvantage in their own lives. There shall be no reserved places for any statutory or professional agency.3 This is reiterated by Tusla who state FRCs involve people from marginalised groups and areas of disadvantage on their voluntary management committees. This approach ensures that each FRC is rooted in the community and this, in turn, makes it a vehicle for delivering other programmes in the community.4

Staffing

As clearly stated funding historically was toward the costs of employment of 2 or 3 FTE (35 hours per week) staff. As per Appendix 3 of contracts issued, funding was provided towards employment of staff subject to satisfactory progress on agreed workplan, and adherence with recommended salary scales.5

From the inception of the Family Resource Centre programme, the Family Support Agency provided funding for each Family Resource Centre to make pension contribution (on a ratio of 2:1 To a maximum of 10%)6 It was also stated that ‘in future, it should be a condition of employment that all employees must be members of the pension scheme’.

1 Strategic Framework for Family Support within the Family and Community Services Resource Centre Programme. Family Support Agency Revised Edition 2013.
2 https://www.tusla.ie/services/family-community-support/family-resource-centres/
3 Family Support Agency & Family Resource Centre contract 2012-2014
4 https://www.tusla.ie/services/family-community-support/family-resource-centres/
5 Family Support Agency & Family Resource Centre contract 2012-2014. Appendix 3: Funding Policy in relation to the Family and Community Services Resource Centre Programme.
6 Correspondence from CEO Family Support Agency to all FRCs April 2006

Our vision is that all children, families and communities will actively participate and be included in a society that is free from prejudice, inequality, discrimination and exclusion, and which will contribute to their greatest possible well-being.

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