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Family Centers Takes 'Holistic' Role In Helping People Cope In Darien

Family Centers Resident Services Coordinator Shawnece Simmons works with a resident of Charter Oak Communities on goal planning.
Family Centers Resident Services Coordinator Shawnece Simmons works with a resident of Charter Oak Communities on goal planning. Photo Credit: Family Centers
Family Centers’ CEO Bob Arnold is shown with a child from The Grauer Preschool.
Family Centers’ CEO Bob Arnold is shown with a child from The Grauer Preschool. Photo Credit: Family Centers

DARIEN, Conn. -- Many people seeking mental health services aren't sure where to turn. And after making many phone calls and getting referrals, the provider you pick sometimes does not take your insurance, let alone offer a sliding scale if you can't pay.

But one nonprofit in lower Fairfield County called Family Centers, which has been helping kids and families for 125 years, makes a difference. What sets it apart, says Vice President Bill Brucker, is having a host of services under one roof.

Through 14 center locations plus programs at 40 sites in Greenwich, New Canaan, and Stamford, the nonprofit offers bereavement and family counseling, young parent supportive programs, and ones that help with job loss and homelessness, among others.

What's more, nobody gets turned away because of inability to pay, and most insurances are accepted, he said. Many programs are free, including Literacy Volunteers, The Den for Grieving Kids, Reaching Independence Through Employment, Brucker said.

"The reason Family Centers' is unique and why so many people turn to us is for a holistic approach to help children, families, and adults overcome a host of obstacles in their lives," he said.

Clients often come in for one issue then others emerge, Brucker said.

"Because we offer such a wide array of programs, secondary issues can be easily dealt with within Family Centers' network. Rather than having to refer to another provider, all services can be taken care of under one roof," he said in an interview.

Family Centers has been around for 125 years. There are 14 center locations plus 40 sites providing services in lower Fairfield County.

The services receive private and public funding and are for everyone, Brucker said.

"Our clients come from various income levels," he said.

Services include bereavement counseling at Center of Hope in Darien and health care sites within public schools in Stamford and Greenwich. Others are preschool and Head Start programs throughout the network. Vocational and job training is for residents in Greenwich Housing Authority and Charter Oak communities.

The clients come in via referrals, "through word-of-mouth, from our relationships with community partners and through our marketing efforts on social media and the local media," he said.

Asked whether there has been a rise or fall in need around the region, Brucker said the number of people seeking the help is fairly consistent.

"We're hovering around the same number we serve on a regular basis. There's a constant need for the services we offer."

Click here for more information about Family Centers.

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