NRCA’s Whole Family Approach (WFA) aims to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. AWhole Family Approach is integrated with other programs and not siloed in nature; it is an organizational mindset that supports a set of systems and practices that place children and their parents at the center. New River Community Action’s (NRCA) Whole Family Approach focuses on helping
families set whole-family goals for both parents, children, and the family. Additionally, WFA prioritizes transitioning from “managing cases” to “coaching” families to drive their own progress. Parents and children in low-income families often lack wrap around supports and resources needed to move towards self-sufficiency. WFA provides and connects families to services that address their unique needs, which may include access to highquality early childhood education, health and well-being supports, post-secondary and employment pathways, economic supports, and social capital. NRCA offers employment specialized coaching through WFA to help families meet their employment and financial goals. Family centered coaching is the core of our WFA, using this tool, families are encouraged to create comprehensive, reasonable, and self-sufficiency driven goal plans. Coaches then help families meet their goals, which results in increased self-sufficiency and improved well-being for the entire family. Currently, due to pilot program status, only CHIP (Children’s Health Improvement Partnership) and Head Start families living in Giles and Pulaski counties are eligible for WFA services. ■ ■ ■ ■ When the Perdue family enrolled on November 2, 2020, they were at the beginning of their substance abuse recovery journey. Devin and Justine turned their lives around and decided it was time to create a better life for their four children. They quickly enrolled their youngest daughter in NRCA’s Head Start program. Valuing and understanding the importance of education, the Perdue’s committed to ensuring stimulating and educational activities where available for their children. Devin and Justine developed and achieved goals centered around prioritizing their mental and physical health so they could provide a healthy and thriving environment for their whole family. Devin and Justine knew they wanted to give back to the community, and peer support was the next step for them. During their time in Whole Family, Devin and Justine completed Peer Support Certifications, and now have paid internships working as Peer Support Specialists, while attending New River Community College where they are studying for associate degrees in human services. Recently, Devin was elected to New River Community Action’s Board of Directors and the family is thrilled about this opportunity to create real change in the community. Since enrollment in Whole Family, the household’s income has more than doubled, and this family is on the path to success.
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