Family is the foundation in any society.
The Restoration of the Family Focus Group’s mission is to address the condition of the deterioration of the family in Florence County and offer solutions to bless our community. We conducted extensive research and interviews in our search to best address this issue in Florence, SC and discovered that while there were agencies doing great work in Florence to assist families in need, nothing was in place to assist in moving families out of poverty permanently. We asked two fundamental questions as we were planning our strategy: What is in place to help the family? and Where is a niche where no one is doing anything to help needy families? Our Team agonized over the right approach to help families that would be true to our Mission: Restoration of families. We agreed our recommendation must be something that transforms families and not just a program to maintain at best a minimum sub-standard of living. The goal should be to teach the family life skills necessary to be self- sustainable above poverty where the service is no longer need.
Our Strategy and How You Can Help
School Readiness and FSD1 Home Visiting programs: Churches can assist in the School Readiness and FSD1 Home Visiting programs by referring families to the program from the congregant.
Jobs for Life: Working with Jobs for Life program, which seeks to restore dignity to people’s lives and transform communities through a biblical understanding of work. In Genesis 2:15, we learn that we were created and designed by God to work. Typical approaches for alleviating poverty involve giving money for food and do not solve the true problem of generational poverty with its many negative effects, including depression, domestic violence, and crime.
What is the operational definition for “Deterioration of the Family?”
Deterioration implies that things are falling apart: something once in good condition is now weakened, worn out, or otherwise in decline. Deterioration is a result of neglect. The word deteriorate describes condition(s) when something gets worse due to neglect or decline in value, such as a relationship or institution.
Deterioration of the family can be anything that causes the family not to function in a healthy state. (What is meant by “healthy family” ……a family who may have some issue but is able to cope via their own internal motivation and life skills as well as being able to connect into a resource system). One or more of the limited number of issues listed below may contribute to the “deterioration of the family” if additional support and/resources (i.e. education, family support, job training) are not available to address the challenges that can accompany each issue:
- Single parent
- Lack of job
- Blended families
- Chronic illness
- Lack of the father in the home or missing in the life of child/children
- Poor or no available living quarters
- Inadequate wages
- One or both parents with psychological issues
- Lack of spiritual value or decline in spiritual value or religious background
- Limited access to adequate healthcare
- Socioeconomic barriers
- Limited or no transportation
- Limited or no healthy coping strategies
- Abuse (e.g. emotional, psychological, physical, sexual)
- Unhealthy environmental factors (i.e. violence)
- Death of parent, paternal figure or child
We began our work by 1.) Reviewing family statistics in the area and 2.) Interviewing all the major organizations/agencies in the city and county already providing services and assistance to families. Our work further involved studying the agencies already providing services. We review their mission, where their services are being used effectively, there funding or lack thereof, the number of volunteers and how they were used.
- All of the State and non-profit agencies we interviewed are addressing the causes to the degree within their range of services and resources available.
- Still according to the 2013 statistics, 19.8% of the county population remains under the poverty level.
- It was also apparent the services provided by the various agencies at best only help to maintain an existing quality of life at or below the poverty level.
- At any time the service was no longer available, the family was devastated and left in same state as before receiving the service(s).
- All the services being provided are of great value for families but none was a transforming agent to lift families to a better quality of life and sustainability once the service(s) was no longer available or no longer needed.
- There are between fifteen (15) to twenty (20) agencies in Florence County that provide some level of service to families.
- Several of the services appear to be a duplication of services.
- All of the agencies provides “value to the families they service”, however at best the service just “maintain” the family in a state of need. Once the assistance is no longer available the family is devastated.
- Lack of convenient transportation is a barrier for many families to get to and from the places of service.
- There is no central “Hub” where families can go to get information on all services provided in the county.
- Many of the agencies are dependent on volunteers which are not always easy to secure
- Very few of the agencies/organization provide services for the whole family unit. Most are child related service or mother/child/children related services.
- Of all the services provided, few if any are lifting families from poverty to a quality of life free of poverty. The goal should be to teach the family life skills necessary to be self- sustainable above poverty where the service is no longer need.