Mission Statement and Vision
Our mission is to strengthen families with young children. Our vision is to improve tomorrow’s quality of life in the community by ensuring today’s children are raised to be happy, healthy, and self-sufficient.
Family Connections of Northeast Ohio has been helping families grow stronger together for over 35 years by providing parenting support and educational opportunities for families with children from birth through age 5. We offer year-round, free and low cost programs and services for families and children to learn and play together.
Our family literacy playrooms provide a dedicated time for parents and caregivers to play with their children in literacy-rich environments. These playrooms demonstrate how simple, interactive play, conversation, and everyday activities can make all the difference for school readiness.
We provide all parents with the opportunity to cultivate relationships, within and between families, and build connections. Whether it be in our playrooms, in the classrooms, or in homes, Family Connections programs link parents to community resources. We also offer information on child development and parenting.
Family Connections works with families during the critical transition into kindergarten, follows them through their kindergarten experience, and leads them towards success into first grade. Meeting families where they are, our programs provide opportunities for parents and children to engage in activities together that strengthen literacy, and help with developing reading, math, and social skills.
Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening & Support
The Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening & Support were issued by the California Network of Family Strengthening Networks (CNFSN) in 2012, and adopted by the National Family Support Network in 2013. They are the first and only standards organization in the country to integrate and implement the Principles of Family Support Practice with the Strengthening Families Frameworks and its research-based evidence-informed 5 Protective Factors. Applying these standards will help ensure that families are supported and strengthened through quality practice.
The Standards are organized in five sections with 17 standards, each with minimum and high-quality indicators and implementation examples:
- Family Centeredness
- Family Strengthening
- Embracing Diversity
- Community Building
Family Connections is certified in The Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening & Support and has one of only two trained trainers in the state of Ohio. We use these Standards with each of our programs to better serve our families and participants.
Our History – A History of Partnerships
Heights Parent Center
Two educators in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District – Carolyn Grossman and Barbara Soules – conceived of the Heights Parent Center after being inspired by Dr. Burton White’s study of the critical years from birth to three years. They founded Heights Parent Center in 1982, and dedicated the Center’s mission to coaching parents on how to promote learning by interacting with their children.
The Center’s goals were to:
- Provide parents with information on child development and child rearing techniques
- Screen infants to detect potential barriers to learning
- Offer a physical location where parents of young children could meet, share experiences, and access resources
- Promote clear and comfortable communication between parents, children, and teachers
Family Connections (formerly Shaker Family Center)
Shaker Family Center was formed in 1991, as a result of a community-wide task force in Shaker Heights that came together to:
- Explore the options for the former Sussex Elementary School building
- Analyze the supply and demand for early childhood programs and preschools in the Shaker Heights City School District.
After a year-long study, the task force’s recommendation, subsequently accepted by the City and School officials, was to form a separate, nonprofit family resource center. This resource center was known as Shaker Family Center. The Center’s purpose was to manage and coordinate a multi-tenant, early childhood family center as well as develop programming for parents and children. The Center began offering off-site programming in 1993.
Family Connections of Northeast Ohio
In 2010, two well-respected, family support organizations, Heights Parent Center and Family Connections, joined together. United as one organization, Family Connections of Northeast Ohio now offers expand services and reaches more families. Family Connections of Northeast Ohio (Family Connections) operates on the belief that strong families build strong communities.
We now have multiple locations where we provide various programs and services. On-site programs and activities are located in both the Shaker Family Center in Shaker Heights and in the Coventry Building in Cleveland Heights. Off-site community partner programs include public schools and libraries.