Family Resource Centers Get Funding Boost | News
Family Resource Youth Service Centers across the state are set to receive a budget increase starting next school year that local center coordinators say will impact students and their families.
The centers, which are funded by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and receive a stipend from the Kentucky Department of Education, will see a statewide increase of $9.4 million each fiscal year. due to the amount per student dropping from nearly $184 to $210. The KDE allocation for Youth and Family Resource Service Centers (FRYSC) will be $48.9 million, according to Bill 1, which was passed earlier this month.
For some FRYSCs in Owensboro Public Schools, this means a budget increase of 70-90% over last year.
The news is a breath of fresh air for Jen Hester, family resource coordinator at Foust Elementary School, who said that throughout the 2010s the centers worried about funding cuts every year. An increase like this not only gives center coordinators peace of mind, but also the means to deliver more programs for families.
Last year, Foust lost his 21st Century Federal Grant for After-School Programs, so increasing the FRYSC budget will allow him to recoup some of that loss, Hester said.
Although the $10,000 increase in Foust’s budget isn’t as big as the 21st grant, it will still help, she said.
“We are very lucky to get this raise,” she said. “We will be able to do more, and the opportunities we can provide for next year will make a big difference for families.”
Caleb York, Daviess County Public Schools Student Services Coordinator, said the increase means an additional $130,000 allocation for FRYSCs in the county. District centers only recently learned of the increased funding, so they are still in the planning stages of how the additional funds will be spent, he said.
Centers receive their funding from the district level through the same state-designed “per student” formula, which is based on the number of students at each school who are eligible for a free, reduced lunch. Schools then have FRYSC advisory boards that work with center coordinators to develop a budget and programming plan, York said.
For DCPS, York said center coordinators and boards have been trying to figure out which programs FRYSC offers have been the “difference makers.”
He said the centers are all seeing an increased need, so the district is considering hiring additional advocates to work alongside the 14 DCPS center coordinators. There are 18 schools in the district that are served by the 14 FRYSC centers. In some cases, this means that one coordinator supervises two schools, which can be a constraint.
“Students and families have far greater needs than they have ever had before,” he said. “We help support families in many ways that we didn’t before the pandemic,” including mental health programs. “We’ve also increased our family engagement programs overall.”
Hester said a needs assessment survey sent to families at the start of the school year indicated that 54% of parents wanted more stress and anxiety management programs.
George Powell, director of student services for Owensboro Public Schools, said FRYSCs in schools across the city will receive an overall increase of $75,000 in funding, bringing the centers’ total budget to $603,000.
He said there have been concerns in recent years about the reduction in funding for the FRYSC, so to see this kind of historic increase is encouraging.
“It would be the first raise they’ve had in a while,” he said. “Now there seems to be enough money for our centers to be able to do some things that they haven’t been able to do in the past.”
Bobbie Hayse, [email protected], 270-691-7315