Midcoast Maine Community Action was awarded a competitive grant by the State of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services Office for Family Independence. The award will make it possible for MMCA to formally implement a Whole Family Services approach to providing services to children and families in Lincoln and Sagadahoc Counties.
The Whole Family Services approach envisions one future for two generations of family members by supporting children and the adults in their lives as they grow together. According to the Aspen Institute, which helped to develop the Whole Family Services or Two-Generation (2Gen) approach, “As children, parents, and families grow and change across their lifespan, 2Gen approaches align opportunities to help families pursue their goals and thrive, optimizing each person’s potential along the way. The results are healthy parents with family-supporting jobs, healthy children meeting developmental milestones, and better-connected individuals able to participate in civic and family life.”
Midcoast Maine Community Action already delivers programming and services aligned with the hallmarks of Whole Family Services. The agency’s approach is centered on engaging families as equal partners, integrating services, removing barriers to access, coaching, partnering with organizations and other service providers, a commitment to racial equity, and measuring family outcomes to ensure future improvement and success.
Eligible participants in Whole Family Services have children living at home and meet income qualifiers. The program will match participants with a dedicated Family Coach, who will perform an assessment to determine needs and opportunities, and work with the family to create an individualized family plan. The plan includes an economic impact assessment, early childhood care and education, parent education and training, parent employment supports, family health and mental health care, and other economic supports such as housing assistance.
Barbara Moody, Ph.D., is the Child and Family Services Director for MMCA’s Head Start + Early Head Start programs, which will administer implementation of the Whole Family Services program. Barbara says, “The Whole Families approach will allow us to expand upon the high quality services we provide for families in Head Start and Community Services and coordinate those services to make it easier for families to be connected to comprehensive services and supports through one trusted individual.”