Family Focus Englewood is a not-for-profit family support center that serves the Englewood and West Englewood communities of Chicago. Our mission is to promote the well-being of children from birth by supporting and strengthening their families in and with their community.
Family Focus is a pioneering family support organization based in Chicago that was founded in 1976. Family Focus offers innovative, community-based programs that help parents, grandparents, and foster and adoptive parents, gain confidence and competence as the primary educators of their children. Family Focus has eleven centers in Chicago and surrounding communities.
After School Programming – After school activities are offered Monday through Friday during the critical hours of 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.; the time when a lack of constructive activity and supervision can lead to risk-taking behavior. The majority of students attend regularly (4-5 days per week throughout the school year for three hours per day). Programs focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), literacy through creative writing and drama, and social-emotional growth.
Doula Services- A doula, also known as a birth companion or birth coach, is a non-medical person who supports and assists a woman before, during, or after childbirth, to provide emotional support and physical help if needed. Expectant mothers meet with doulas prior to birth to discuss birth plans, and education on prenatal care, what to expect during labor, and post-labor. Doulas are present during the entire birth process as an advocate and support system.
Early Childhood Home Visiting – Home visiting addresses critical years of social, emotional, and cognitive development with the parents in the home. Home visitors meet with families in the environment where they spend most of their time and track progress along developmental domains to ensure that children are meeting critical developmental milestones. Home visitors establish a customized Individual Family Support Plan at enrollment that is tracked by parent-teacher teams throughout the year. Parent-child activities are designed to involve the parent and child in sharing and learning activities that foster gross motor, language, fine-motor, social, and emotional skills. Parent reflections and family support worker reports/observations during home visits help gauge parental knowledge of child development and attitudes regarding parent-child interactions. All of our services are provided by home visitors with extensive early childhood training.
Family Advocacy Center – Known as FACs, staff called Family Support Workers (FSWs) partner with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to provide parenting classes and one-on-one support from a staff member to parents who have been reported to DCFS for potential abuse/neglect. This service has a big impact: Less than 2% of our families are re-reported to DCFS within 18 months in comparison to the Illinois state average of 32% re-reported.
Power of Fathers Program – Open to new fathers, teen fathers, uncles, grandfathers, and fathers trying to reconnect with their families, this program helps fathers learn positive parenting skills and build relationships with their children in a safe, welcoming setting. This group provides comprehensive family support, including family night cook-outs and family field trips. This program uses the 24/7 Dad curriculum and also covers topics such as: father’s rights, ex-offender rights, job referrals, child support information, male-female relationships, grandfathering, parental self-esteem, domestic violence, child development, and more.
Trauma-Informed Therapy – To help break the cycle of violence for families in the Englewood and West Englewood communities, Englewood addresses trauma at the most critical stage in a child’s development and involves the entire family in the healing process. These interventions provide integrated therapy, case management and family support services tailored to the needs of each individual family. Mental health services include therapy for both children and adults, child-parent psychotherapy (CPP), and family therapy. In each approach the interventions focus on the caregiver, not the therapist, as the primary source of support for the child. Families work with their assigned therapist to create an Individual Family Support Plan (IFSP) based on the family’s concerns, goals, preferences, and the therapist’s assessments. These plans may also include referral to other appropriate resources within and outside of Family Focus services. Most services are home-based to accommodate families’ transportation costs, the challenges of readying a family for travel, privacy and confidentiality, and safety.
The support of community volunteers significantly enhance our services. Each program within the center has unique needs. To learn more about opportunties, please contact Vice President of Centers, Loretta Espeut, at [email protected].