What is The Family Center?

The Family Center is a virtual and physical gathering place for all Franklin County families with children, prenatal to age 8. Our purpose is to walk with families on their parenthood journey. We want you to know you are not alone in the difficult job of raising children.

 

The Family Center is here to help you find the best ways to:

  • Feel empowered as the expert on your child by learning about child development and parenting
  • Help your child develop healthy communication and connections
  • Engage with other families about the joys and challenges of raising children who are healthy, safe, and eager to learn.
  • Get community support through resources and events that are designed with young children and families in mind.
  • Build your own resilience as the caring adult in a child’s life

Our Mission:

Thriving Families, Stronger Community

First Start Partnerships for Children and Families, in collaboration with the HOPE from the Start Taskforce has a vision for thriving families and a stronger community. The Family Center was created to help all families find the resources and support you need to thrive.

Our History

Local leaders from Franklin County school districts, health care, United Way, early learning programs, libraries, human services, social services, businesses, and community organizations began meeting in March 2018 to recognize that young children and their families need increased supports to prepare children for school success and reduce the need for more intensive, costly interventions later in life.  This group formed a new collaborative called HOPE from the Start for Franklin County.

In August 2018, HOPE from the Start became a task force of WellSpan’s Healthy Franklin County. A goal of HOPE from the Start was to open a Family Center in Franklin County using the Pennsylvania Family Center model.  In December of 2020, First Start Partnerships launched The Family Center as a virtual model during the pandemic with funding in part by a grant from the federal Department of Treasury, under the administration of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Grant Program and the United Way of Franklin County. Currently, First Start Partnerships has plans for opening the first Family Center building in Franklin County in addition to the continuation of virtual services with funding from The Summit Endowment in Spring of 2022.

Our Staff

Nicole Nicholson, The Family Center Director

Hi! I am so excited to be developing The Family Center, because I am a mother to 2 young children and I believe family is vitally important to a child’s success in life. I began my career with my first job as a babysitter and went on to earn a Bachelors in Elementary Education/Early Childhood from Shippensburg University. During my husband’s service in the Marine Corps, I developed a passion for working with families in military childcare. Upon returning to the area, my work with Head Start and Early Head Start furthered this passion.  I am honored to be serving in my current role and can’t wait to find ways to support all families in our community.

Our Vision

First Start Partnerships for Children and Families, in collaboration with the HOPE from the Start task force has a vision for thriving families and a stronger community. The Family Center is a gathering place for all Franklin County families with children, prenatal to age 8. Families with young children who need local, supportive, positive, healthy relationships. They need to know they are not alone in the difficult job of raising children. They need to understand the normalcy of stress and trauma, and strategies for building resilience in themselves and their children.

The Family Center will enable all Franklin County Families to:

Engage in learning through music and the arts.

Learn about the many resources available about child development.

Connect with their children and build resilience through family education curriculum.

Engage with other famillies about the joys and challenges of raising children who are healthy, safe, and eager to learn.

Learn about the importance of high quality early childhood education options.

Connect to community resources for safety, health, mental health, and economic stability.