Family Strengthening Programs
How do you define your family?
Family Service believes that the family is the most important unit of society and functions to fulfill its members’ needs for both survival and well-being. “Families” come in many forms. A well-functioning family enhances its individual members’ ability to function both within the family and in the larger community; such a family provides emotional, physical, and economic mutual aid to its members. Ideally, family is characterized by intimacy, intensity, continuity, and commitment among its members throughout the life cycle.
Our Family Strengthening Programs focus on the positives in families. Instead of trying to “fix” problems which naturally occur in family situations, our programs assist families to identify strengths and “grow” them. Our Family Strengthening Programs assist with parenting, transportation, self-sufficiency, parenting support groups, and a program for young adults with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Family Strengthening Programs include:
- AACES (Autism Awareness, Community Education, and Support)
- Bucks County Emergency Homeless Shelter
- LINKS Family Reunification
- Parents As Teachers
- Parent Support Group
- Ways to Work/Drive to Success
(Autism Awareness, Community Education, and Support)
Helping young adults with Asperger’s lead more independent lives
Autism Awareness, Community Education, and Support (AACES), is a program of Family Service Association designed to increase independence and decrease isolation among young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Each component of AACES supports the transition of transition aged youth and young adults with ASD; specifically Asperger’s Syndrome, PDD-NOS or High Functioning Autism; into adulthood.
This program was established through the efforts of parents and community leaders who were concerned about the lack of programs for adults with disabilities, specifically ASD, and it is the first step in filling a significant service gap.
AACES services will help participants:
- Participate in the community
- Develop and practice effective social skills
- Build relationships with peers in a welcoming environment
- Practice problem solving
- Find and maintain employment
- Gain work experience
- Learn independent living skills
- Identify community resources
- Grow their independence
Tracks to Employment: Job Preparation Workshops, Workplace Social Skill Seminars, Service Learning Center Training, Vocational Assessments, Job Coaching , Employment Consulting
Tracks to Employment offers several components to help young adults gain community and vocational experiences that lead to competitive employment. Individuals who seek employment can participate in Job Preparation Workshops focused on skills like completing a job application, understanding expected workplace behaviors, presenting a professional appearance, writing a resume and job interviewing. Workplace Social Skill Seminars focus on the “soft skills” essential to retaining employment and address topics including effective communication with supervisors, working with a team, managing emotions in the workplace and self disclosure.
Participants can put these skills to use at Déjà Vu Thrift, a new Service Learning Center component to this program. The Service Learning Center provides “real world” opportunities for participants to practice workplace skills, as well as gain experience, confidence and greater self-awareness. Each participant completes an application, participates in an interview and monthly job performance evaluations throughout the training process. After a brief assessment period, an Individualized Training Plan is created for each trainee, focused on goals for the remainder of the training.
AACES is an approved vendor for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), and can provide Vocational Assessments and Job Coaching for OVR clients. The Vocational Assessment involves the use of interviews, record review, individualized written work and career instruments. AACES staff works with the participant to cooperatively develop a work assessment and at least the initial steps in a career plan.
AACES employs a Job Developer who reaches out to employers in the business community, and assists job seekers with finding work opportunities. AACES is can provide Job Coaching and Employment Consulting for individuals who are not OVR clients and are interested in private pay.
Coffeehouse: Member Socialization
AACES offers two socialization programs for members to gain social comfort, practice socializing, learn new life skills, and to make connections with other young people. These include Coffeehouse (for individuals between 18 – 26 who have graduated from high school) and Junior Coffeehouse (for young people between 16 and 21 who are still in high school). Through a combination of planned activities, discussion groups, guest speakers, and casual conversation, Coffeehouse members have the opportunity to: decrease isolation; create friendships; enhance their communication skills; develop problem solving skills; learn new life skills, and strengthen their ability to understand and respond to verbal and non-verbal cues outside the AACES Center.
Parent Involvement and Support
Family Service Association recognizes that there are unique challenges for parents, caregivers and family members of transition aged youth and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Families may experience a range of concerns and feelings as they help their son or daughter move toward independence. Through a combination of educational programs, a monthly Parent Support Group, and individual consultation, the AACES staff work with family members to find answers to their questions, link them to available community services, and assist them as they navigate the system of programs and benefits available for their family member.
In order to provide opportunities for transition aged youth and young adults to gain more life skills, AACES provides Community Classes. There is a fee for participation in Community Classes. Contact us for a schedule of classes.
Admission criteria to the AACES program includes:
- A diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (Asperger’s Syndrome, PDD-NOS or High Functioning Autism)
- Ability to attend programs independently and navigate the adjoining mall without staff support
- IQ score of 70 or above
- Demonstrates motivation to participate in the program and agrees to adhere to program expectations which will be explained at admission
- Age Criteria: 16 years and older for Job Preparation Workshops, Workplace Social Skills Seminars, Community Classes and Junior Coffeehouse; 18 years and older for Service Learning Center, Vocational Assessments, Job Coaching, Employment Consulting, and Coffeehouse.
- Education Criteria: High School Diploma or GED for Job Coaching, Vocational Assessments, Employment Consulting, and Coffeehouse
- Residency Criteria: Bucks County Residency for Service Learning Center , Coffeehouse and Junior Coffeehouse; Bucks County or Montgomery Residency for Job Coaching and Vocational Assessments; Open to any county – Job Preparation Workshops, Workplace Social Skill Seminars; Employment Consulting and Community Classes.
Parents or Caregivers of any of the AACES participant are welcome to attend the monthly Parent Group or to schedule an individual consultation with the AACES Parent Group facilitator.
Location and Hours:
Suite 012 at the Oxford Valley Mall
(Near the entrance to the mall by the fountain at JC Penny)
Monday and Wednesday: 3:30pm-7:45pm
For more information, please contact:
Amy Conte, MS
215-757-6916 ext. 351
Bucks County Emergency Homeless Shelter
Bucks County Emergency Homeless Shelter is a program for families and individuals who have lost stable and safe housing. This temporary shelter provides case managers to help residents to move from homelessness to self-sufficiency. Family Service’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Program provides an on-site mental health counselor.
Homeless Hotline: 1-800-810-4434
For more information contact:
Kari Howatt, MS
215-949-1727 x 110
LINKS Family Reunification
The LINKS Family Reunification program reunifies children who are in foster care with their parents. As LINKS staff work to reunite these children with their families, they also connect families with other community resources that will support them in preventing re-placement of their children in care and in maintaining long-term stability.
Families receiving the LINKS reunification services normally have significant issues to overcome in order to be reunited. These issues may include substance abuse, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, parent/child mental health issues and inappropriate housing. Often times families exhibit a combination of these problems which have led to the placement of their child/ children into the foster care system.
LINKS staff work with families, usually right in their homes, to get the family back together within the first fifteen months of a child being placed in foster care.
The LINKS Family Reunification program is a partnership between FSA, The Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency and the Bucks County Behavioral Health System.
For more information contact:
215-757-6916 ext. 226
Parents as Teachers is a parent education and family support program serving families throughout pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten, usually age 5.
Parents are supported by PAT-certified parent educators that follow the Born to Learn model and are trained to translate scientific information on early brain development into specific when, what, how and why advice for families. By understanding what to expect during each stage of development, parents can easily capture the teachable moments in everyday life to enhance their child’s language development, intellectual growth, social development and motor skills.
As a Parents as Teachers family, you receive all four components of the Born to Learn model:
- Personal visits during which your parent educator will share age-appropriate child development and parenting information, help you learn to observe your child, and address your parenting concerns.
- Parent group meetings where you will share and learn about parenting issues and child development. Parents learn and support each other, observe their children with other children and practice parenting skills.
- Screenings to assess your child’s overall development as well as health, hearing and vision.
- Resource network that links your family to other community services.
Parents as Teachers provide referrals for:
- Economic, environmental, and personal problems
- Food, formula, and baby care items
- Medical care for parents and children
- Counseling and psychiatric care
- Continuing education
- Debt management/financial planning
- Family planning
Parents as Teachers is a nationally recognized evidence-based program.
For more information, or to make a referral, contact:
215-757-6916 ext. 226
Parent Support Group
Bonita shares how the Parent Support Group has made her a stronger parent.
There are several keys to being a good parent–one is information and another is support.
We provide both.
The Parent Support Group meets weekly to provide you with support in making positive changes in your parenting. The purpose of the support group is to improve family relationships and help parents make changes in their families before a crisis occurs.
Led by a professional facilitator, The Parent Support Group is a place where parents come together to share feelings, advice, and tips on being a good parent. In this friendly atmosphere, you will have a place to exchange creative parenting practices based on your own personal experiences. You will develop a lasting network of friends who can be an ongoing resource for you.
The Parent Support Group meets on Tuesday evenings at the Bucks County Family Center in Bristol Borough. The Parent Support Group is an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance.
This program is free.
For more information contact:
Parent Support Group Coordinator
215-757-6916 ext. 383
News & Events
6/10 – Drive for Youth Golf Outing
Merger helps nonprofits groups
> phillyburbs.com 5/10/2013
Contact of Greater Philadelphia and Family Service Association of Bucks County announce merger
> Press release 5/10/2013
Buck Up Bucks County donors learn about plans for shelter’s new kitchen
> phillyburbs.com 5/8/2013
‘Out with the old, in with the new’
> phillyburbs.com 5/3/2013
In the (shelter) kitchen with Cheryl
> phillyburbs.com 4/18/2013
A dollar really can make a difference
> Liberty Mutual’s The Responsibility Project 4/11/2013
Makefield Women’s Association doles out Yardley Harvest Day proceeds, presents scholarships
> buckslocalnews.com 4/5/2013
Job training program recieves grant
> phillyburbs.com 4/3/2013
Let’s Buck Up for a cause
> phillyburbs.com 2/6/2013
Growing a kitchen fund at Newtown Friends School
> phillyburbs.com 2/3/2013
AIDS Awareness Day
> phillyburbs.com 11/30/2012
Community Partners Honored at Annual Meeting
> phillyburbs.com 11/16/2013
View our newest videos posted throughout our site.