Grantee Profile Archive
The Family Center evolved from the vision of four women, who had focused on the needs of families affected by HIV/AIDS while working at NYC Department of Social Services. Their experience told them that one of the biggest concerns of ill parents was not themselves, but their children. Little was being done to prepare these children for their parents’ death, mourning and the rebuilding their lives.
The Center was established in 1994 to help families affected by a parent’s life-threatening illness to remain stable and cope with their challenges. The Family Center has served families touched by cancer, HIV and other serious diseases. Its core belief is that every child with a seriously-ill parent deserves an answer to the question — “Who will take care of me?”
The Family Center’s founders decided to offer comprehensive legal and social services under one roof. Agency attorneys worked with families to establish custodial/legal guardianship plans, health care proxies, wills and powers of attorney. Trained social workers and family coordinators provided individual and family counseling, mediation services, benefits assistance and cross-referrals to other support services.
In its 15 years, The Family Center has expanded from serving the children and families of ill parents to also assisting caregivers of children whose parents are incapacitated or have died. In 2001, the Center used its expertise in family grief counseling to help children and families affected by the World Trade Center disaster.
In 2002, The Family Center received a grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure to do targeted outreach to women and families living with breast cancer.
The next year, the Center opened a second office in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. In 2005, it began serving families with caregivers over 60. It is the city’s only social service agency funded to provide support service to elderly caregivers of young children.