New location provides vital services, support for children and families
On Thursday (Feb. 7), Centro La Familia Advocacy Services Inc. will officially open its newest Neighborhood Resource Center to serve Kerman and surrounding communities.
The center, located in The Boyd Building at 275 S. Madera Ave., Suite 400, in Kerman, provides a variety of services to area families such as parenting classes, home visitations and help with basic needs. The center began rolling out its program in November and is funded through the Fresno County Department of Social Services.
Thursday’s official opening will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony and program featuring Brian Pacheco, representing District 1 on the Fresno County Board of Supervisors; Delfino E. Neira, director of the Fresno County Department of Social Services; Rhonda Armstrong, mayor of the City of Kerman; and Margarita Rocha, executive director of Centro La Familia Advocacy Services.
“This center brings our services closer to clients in Kerman and surrounding communities, where transportation can be a big issue,” Rocha said. “It also makes it easier for our staff to serve clients because they now have a place to call home.”
Centro La Familia Advocacy Services Neighborhood Resource Center is an important addition to the community because of its convenience and the wide range of available resources and services.
“Establishing a neighborhood resource center in Kerman will offer faster access to services for residents on the west side of Fresno County by allowing them to remain closer to home to fulfill their needs,” said Pacheco, who represents Kerman and nearby communities in western Fresno County.
“This way, residents don’t have to travel into Fresno, using their personal time and spending additional money to make the trip.”
Neira said the center fits into the department’s strategy to reduce child abuse and belief that children and families need to be supported and safe.
“The Department of Social Services is happy to be part of the work happening in the community of Kerman and the efforts of Centro La Familia to support the needs of children and families,” Neira said. “We look forward to a long partnership.”
Centro La Familia’s relationship with the department dates back to the beginnings of the nonprofit agency, according to Rocha.
“They have been a cornerstone for our organization’s ability to respond to community needs,” she said.
The new Neighborhood Resource Center offers comprehensive services aimed at strengthening families and reducing the risk of child abuse or neglect. Ultimately, the center expects to serve 400 to 500 families annually with services such as parenting education classes, home visitations, support groups and mentoring.
In addition, the center provides services and/or referrals to area residents dealing with issues such as poverty, substance abuse, domestic violence or immigration. Rocha said the new center already has seen an uptick in walk-in client traffic.
Part of the center’s goal is to help connect services to families who might be referred by agencies such as law enforcement or schools, for example.
“There are families that sometimes find themselves in immediate need, and we can help them,” Rocha said.