In 1998, the council developed Families R Us in Malone, a kid sister to Family Connections.
“Also that very same year, we began a supervised-visitation program for families who had lost custody of their kids and who were essentially court-ordered to only have contact with their kids in a supervised setting. That program continues today,” she said.
In 2000, family-resource centers, Family Matters in Tupper Lake and a sub-contract, Families First in Elizabethtown, were developed.
“We support them (Families First) with some funding to provide a family-resource center. They all offer playgroups, parental support, group parenting-education classes. What’s very important is families from all walks of life participate. Rich, poor, single, double, it doesn’t matter the family makeup. There’s no qualifying criterion. It’s universal access,” Basiliere said.
The council partnered with Champlain Valley Educational Services to offer Even Start, a family-literacy project, from 2000 to 2006.
“We worked with 50 families who didn’t have their high-school diplomas. These were very young parents with very young children, birth to 9 years old. We provided a nice, neat package of services, including GED prep, parenting education and home visiting. Sadly, that project came to an end because state and federal funding for it started to diminish at that time, and we were one of the first programs to be cut,” she said.
As Even Start ended, the council received funding for a Kinship Caregiver Program.
“The funding just ended. We had funding to support grandparents and other relatives — aunts, uncles, older siblings, great-grandparents in some instances — with a whole menu of services because these relatives were raising kids because the kids’ parents could not or would not raise them,” Basiliere said.
Biological parents were out of the picture due to incarceration, loss of custody or other reasons.