Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes
December 10, 2012

In attendance:  Steve Acevado, New England Farm Workers Council, Jane Banks, Center for Human Development, Shannon Barry, Springfield Public Schools, Neil Broome, FOR Families, Bonnie Caldwell, HAP,  Courtney Clemente, Community Legal Aid, L. Viviana deJesus, Independent Contractor Homeless Prevention Consultant, Ken Demers, New England Farm Workers Council, Epifanio Diaz, HAP, Mia Dixon, FOR Families, Oonagh Doherty, Mass Justice Project, Anthia Elliott, Safe Passage, Erin Forbush, ServivceNet (Pittsfield), Leonard Hayes, DHCD, Declan Joseph, HAP, Wendy Kane, Community Legal Aid, Fran Lemay, ServiceNet (Greenfield Family Inn), Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Jordana O’Connell, Holyoke Public Schools, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Gail Pisacane, Valley Opportunity Council, Shannon Porter, HAP, Steve Plummer, Springfield Community Partners, Liza Rios, YWCA, Lourdes Sariol, DHCS, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Rachel Trant, DCF

Thanks to Donna Nadeau and Leonard Hayes of DHCD for facilitating a special presentation by the Family Nurturing Center on its Nurturing Fathers Program.  Thanks to staff and partners in the initiative for taking the travel time from Boston to visit with us and share both inspiring life stories and information about the program.    They provided us with a powerpoint presentation that I will relay to all as soon as it is obtained.

A brief overview:

This program is a 13 week curriculum which has seen great success in providing necessary support and guidance to fathers.

DHCD has contracted with the Nurturing Fathers Program to help launch its program in 3 areas of the state:  Western Mass., Brockton and N. Shore.  The program is in conversation with HAP as a starting point for Western Mass (and HAP is looking forward to connecting with all interested partners).  Right now they are at the very earliest stage of conversation.  They are looking to create a train the trainer program (training case managers from agencies), ideally leading to local funding sources to support this. Stay tuned for further updates as the program unfolds.


FOR Families:  new staff person being allocated to Western Mass.

Oonagh Doherty:  Mass Justice Project is merging with Community Legal Aid.  Must call CLA for legal intake for shelter families.

Heads-up on March, 2014, New England Fatherhood Conference at Newport Marriot – will relay more information as available.

Shannon Porter:  DHCD has announced an increase in the HomeBASE household assistance benefit for shelter and motel families (not for families exiting HomeBASE).  Cannot be used by families who are relocating to subsidized housing, only available for moving costs, start-up costs, utility arrearages, not as rental subsidy.

Housing conference in 3rd week in January – “Beyond Housing” – will provide more details as available.

Next meeting:

Tuesday, January 14
1:00 – 2:30 pm
New England Farm Workers Council
225 High Street, Holyoke

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