Raising kids is tough. Period. The toughest thing you will ever do! And for many of us, we might be doing the job alone or in a low income family or have many socio-economic factors challenging our everyday lives. We may face challenges due to our age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion. We may be raising a grandchild or niece/nephew or a foster child. Our child may have disabilities. Whatever the situation, it is not uncommon and does not mean we have to do it all without any help. Do you, as a parent or caregiver in Oakland, know what services are available to you?
- Family Paths is a non-profit organization of mental health professionals and volunteers. They have a 24 hour parent support hotline which can provide support, crisis management, counselling etc. as well as a Foster Parent Advice line. They provide a wide range of mental health services providing support for families going through traumas such as divorce, loss, violence, abuse, victims of crime. They also provide family support services and classes.
- Family Support Services offer help to families of children with disabilities, substance exposed, HIV+. They support parents or guardians who are at risk of abusing/neglecting their children and help improve their parenting, providing a safe environment for the child. Their Family Preservation Program provides intensive home-based assistance to focus on the safety of the child and avoid the child being taken into care. They also offer services such as respite for a parent/caregiver of a disabled child to relieve some of the stress and responsibility and provide a much needed break.
- Children's Home Society of California offer a range of services, including the Oakland Family Resource Center. This is a safe space for parents, children and families to come for support and for referrals for the appropriate services available in the area. They also provide assistance to low-income families with subsidized child-care programs and assistance with employment, education and training to help parents to become self-sufficient.
- Early Start Family Resource Centers (ESFRC) provide support to families of children with disabilities. They specifically offer services to children from birth to age three, helping with early intervention and family support. It can be an extremely scary time and ESFRC can help assess and evaluate your child's development and provide the appropriate support for a child with disabilities.
- If available, tuition assistance from agencies is a great way to substitute all or part of a preschool tuition fee. At Kids Konnect for example, we happily work with a number of agencies as we strongly believe quality childcare should be available to everyone. Check out the following agencies:
While there can be many challenges facing you as a parent or caregiver, no challenge is insurmountable. Find the right service to help your individual situation and realise how many others are in a very similar situation. Seeking help, receiving professional advice and resources and meeting others facing the same problems will quickly make you realise you are not alone.