Serving Washington County

The Family Center of Washington County fosters the positive growth and development of young children and their families.

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For Children

Children are our most valuable resource. What a child doesn’t receive he can seldom later give.

Child Services

For Youth

Increasing the active participation and partnership with young people, to better serve them.

Youth Services

For Families

Each family has strengths and can take a primary role in its own development.

Family Services

What We Do

For Children

Child development is a process that involves learning and mastering skills like sitting, walking, talking, skipping, and tying shoes.

For Youth

Positive youth development services engage young people in intentional, productive, and constructive ways, while recognizing and enhancing their strengths.

For Families

All families should have access to economic and parenting supports to ensure all children have nurturing and stable relationships with caring adults.

“One of the most impressive programs in Vermont funded under this Act is a program to identify youth at risk of being removed from their families, and address the underlying issues. The Strengthening Families Program helps families and children with open DCF cases by facilitating access to mental health resources, counseling, substance abuse treatment, housing, childcare and transportation. The program has already proven successful, reducing the number of children removed from 30 percent of all open DCF cases to 7 to 12 percent of all cases in just 18 months.” said Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, the Ranking Member on the Judiciary Committee and its most senior member, in announcing the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2015 on July 23.



Strengthening Families is a program designed to assist families who have an open DCF case to decrease risk factors and prevent children from entering state custody. Historically – without Strengthening Families – 30% of children with open family support cases come into state custody. In the first 18 months, the Strengthening Families Sites experienced 7% to 12% of children with open cases coming into custody, a substantial increase for the safety of children.

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Take Action

Every year, Vermont saves $2,131,041 when each of Vermont’s 15 Parent Child Centers prevents:

  • One woman from entering a correctional facility;
  • One teen pregnancy.
  • One child from needing foster care placement; and
  • One mother and child from requiring public assistance.

Help children thrive

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3,477 individuals served in Central Vermont from July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015

Family Center News and Events

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Commentary - Times Argus, 02/07/2016
Child protection crisis can be helped by centers

The Rutland County Parent Child Center is one of many parent-child centers that play a crucial role in supporting Vermont’s child protection system.
Vermont’s child protection system is at a crisis point and legislators are working hard to address the issues which contribute to the crisis. Here in Bennington County we are fortunate to have people who work directly with families in order to keep their children safe and from unnecessarily entering state custody.

Sunrise Family Resource Center is Bennington County’s parent-child center. It is one of Vermont’s 15 parent-child centers that have been working with community partners for the past 30 years to ensure that families get the help they need to give their children the best possible start in life.

One way Sunrise has been responding to these issues is through our Intensive Family Based Services. Through this program family advocates develop relationships with vulnerable families and untangle the complex issues they face. Advocates meet with a family one to five times a week for an average of six months, meeting them in their homes or while getting them to appointments. Our latest data show we are seeing remarkable success.

Of the 47 families served from January to December 2015, 42 were referrals from the Family Services Division of the Department for Children and Families and five were referrals from community partners. During this period we were 98 percent successful in keeping children out of custody, with one reunification plan ongoing.

Yet for the past 20 years our parent-child centers have been doing the work without an increase in their base funding. This year we are hoping the Legislature will change that as they come to realize that parent-child centers are providing the answers they seek to Vermont’s thorniest issues.

The work Sunrise does with families is multifaceted. Through Intensive Family Based Services we work with DCF and with families who hope to keep children out of state custody. One such case involved young parents and their newborn child. The family was living in a motel, and both parents had histories of substance abuse. Since the mother was able to decrease her use of drugs during pregnancy, we knew that the family might be open to receiving support. We assigned an advocate to the family and began the process of setting goals around keeping their child safe and their family intact. In partnership with the family we agreed on a recovery plan and identified the services that the family would need. We connected them with community services and guided them through addiction-related challenges. With permission, we involved extended family. We located safe, affordable housing. We provided parent education and talked about the importance of bonding and attachment and what that looks like to an infant. We helped the family follow through with medical needs including pediatric care as well as primary and dental care for both parents.

Parent-child centers in Bennington, together with 14 others across Vermont, provide eight core services designed for early intervention and supporting families as they address challenging issues. Parent-child centers provide home visits, early childhood services, parent education and support programs, on-site programs, play groups, information and referral services. Through these core services, it can be shown that Vermont taxpayers are saving millions of dollars.

Our request is to bring the base funding up to $135,000 for each parent-child center and to include a cost of living adjustment so the amount is adjusted every year. To accomplish this, the base appropriation must be $2,025,000. As policymakers make tough budget choices this year, we hope they will keep in mind the valuable work parent-child centers provide to support vulnerable families and their children.

Linda Dean-Farrar is director of Sunrise Family Resource Center in Bennington County and a member of the Parent Child Center Network. Anne Mook is chairwoman of the Sunrise Family Resource Center board.
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Family Center of Washington County Vermont added 5 new photos.

Early Childhood Program children in the Preschool East Classroom took advantage of the nice day on Monday and went to a walk in the woods behind the Early Childhood Building.
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Events Calendar

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Sat 13

Saturday Morning Playgroup

February 13 @ 9:30 am - 11:00 am