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FSA Service Spotlight: Reflecting Back on 2021

Since 1895, Family Service Association of NEPA has helped local children, individuals, families and communities achieve their full potential. In honor of their 125th anniversary, this nonprofit organization will share the stories behind their services. Join us every month to learn more about their diverse programs and how you can support their vision of building resilient families and thriving communities—one person at a time.

Family Service Association Continues to Empower Families & the Community Through Resilience & Hope

The founding members of the Charitable Society Organization (CSO) in 1895 had one goal in mind—stronger communities through charitable efforts. Now, 126 years later, Family Service Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania (FSA NEPA) continues those efforts in many different ways, but with the same vision nonetheless. Today, FSA strives in continuing to build on the foundation of the CSO by addressing the needs of the community, harnessing partnerships and strengthening its communities through its families.

For nearly two years, FSA has grown into an even more resilient organization as we navigated difficult and unprecedented circumstances. Faced with the tumultuous and ongoing pandemic, FSA did not hesitate to answer the call. While providing case management and counseling programs through social distancing and virtual sessions, our case managers and clinicians were consistently there for the families we serve.

During this time, programs like our Intensive Family Reunification Service worked with families to reunite with their children in foster/kinship care—sometimes facing exacerbated situations due to limited visitations because of social distancing guidelines. Programs such as Family Finding helped created nearly 600 familial connections for children, while Family Group Decision Making brought together nearly 750 family supports to create reunification, permanency and safety plans for children in our community. Efforts to bring families together to create plans based on their strengths and positive resources help create even stronger homes for the children to return to and remain in with minimal intervention.

Youth who have participated in the Outreach Prevention Program (OPP) and High-Risk Youth Re-Entry Program (HRYRE) continue to build their resources and coping skills, even as their academic situations, social situations and family homes were difficult to manage during this time. OPP and HRYRE continue to exhibit strong non-recidivism rates (75% and 83%, respectively), demonstrating an enhanced family system, utilization of coping skills and efforts to resolve conflict with healthy, productive communication.

PA 211 Northeast/Helpline has also been available, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The highly skilled case managers have been available for crisis information and referrals, ensuring that our community members are able to access any resource available. During the past year, PA 211 NE/Helpline assisted callers in accessing COVID-19 vaccination and health information, food pantries, housing/rent assistance and many other needs through nearly 105,000 calls. While the need for food, rental assistance and access to various health and social services were on the rise, the case managers always took the extra step to make the connection.

Next year, PA 211 NE/Helpline will celebrate its 50th year. The service originally opened its doors to provide disaster recovery and human service connections following the devastation of the flood of 1972 in the Wyoming Valley. It continues to be a lifeline for those who need it. Following the disaster, it helped families rebuild. Today, it continues to help connect and strengthen our community.

From our Children’s Center of Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties to our Guardianship Program and everywhere in between, our focus is on families. Our vision has never been clearer: Building resilient families and thriving communities. One person at a time.  For some families, that may mean creating deeper connections. For others, it may mean learning new skills to enrich their families while extinguishing the generational trauma that has led them into difficult situations. Even when faced with difficult circumstances, FSA is here to help families pave a stronger path for their kin, break cycles and empower each individual to achieve their fullest potential.

To learn more about FSA and its programs, visit www.fsanepa.org. To learn more about PA 211 NE/Helpline visit www.pa211ne.org. Individuals in need of information or crisis services can dial 211 or text their zip code to 898211.

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