In our ongoing effort to know and help our community, Auntie Bellum will be talking with organizations about what they do, how they do it, and who they’re trying to help. Please read further about the remarkable work of Family Connection of South Carolina.
What is your organization’s mission?
Family Connection of South Carolina is a statewide nonprofit organization connecting families of children with special healthcare needs or disabilities with helpful resources, support, and education.
Who does your organization serve/who benefits from your organization and how?
We provide support to parents with a child in need of special healthcare, such as an upcoming surgery, developmental delays, premature birth, physical limitations, and all diagnoses including autism, asthma, ADHD, Down Syndrome and cerebral palsy. This support includes vast family-to-family network and a host of programs that educate, inspire, and empower families and their children to live rich, fulfilling lives.
We are also the parent center for special education services throughout the state, so we remain the point of contact as children transition through the educational system: post-secondary education through adulthood.
Family Connection is proud to be a member of Parent-to-Parent USA (P2P USA), ensuring best practices in parent-to-parent support, and an SC Family Voices Affiliate Organization. Family Voices aims to achieve family-centered care for all children and youth with special health care needs and/or disabilities. Through this national network, Family Voices provides families tools to make informed decisions, advocates for improved public and private policies, builds partnerships among professionals and families and serves as a trusted resource on health care. We are also partnered with the SC Family-to-Family Health Information Center (F2F HIC) funded through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Maternal Child Health Bureau (MCHB). F2F HICs are uniquely able to help families because they are run by a network of parents and family members of children and youth with special healthcare needs (CYSHCN) who have firsthand experience navigating the maze of services and programs for CYSHCN.
Who are important leaders within your organization, and what do they do?
We’re governed by a volunteer board of parents and professionals who are impacted by disabilities or special healthcare needs.
What resources does your organization rely on in order for it to operate successfully?
We receive state, federal and community grants, corporate support and donations from individuals either directly or through United Way, Midlands Gives, etc.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing your organization/what does your organization need most right now?
Since 1990, Family Connection has served more than 47,000 families and made more than 32,000 parent-to- parent matches, allowing one-on-one support around a specific diagnosis or a parent’s greatest concern. Specifically, in 2015 alone, Family Connection provided 2,830 parent-to-parent matches. Of those families, 603 received a home visit to provide intensive one-to-one assistance on asthma (the leading cause of illness for children in South Carolina) or on beginning a journey with an infant or toddler with developmental delays.
The need continues to grow dramatically. In fact, overall referrals increased 35 percent in the last five years and overall matches increased 65 percent.
Everyone in the Midlands and throughout South Carolina has felt the tragic effects of the floods in October. Family Connection is no different. Many of our families – and even staff and volunteers – were impacted. But our organization was able to provide additional support and continue serving these families in this time of additional crisis.
Now, our challenge is to make the 2016 Benefit the most successful ever –despite the challenges with fundraising in a trying year for our state. That’s why your support – now more than ever – is truly needed and greatly appreciated.
What types of opportunities does your organization provide for volunteers
Parents impacted serve as volunteers for other parents in a variety of ways. Caregivers and professionals are welcome on our board or committees and to help with a variety of special projects and events throughout the year, statewide.
Is your organization involved in any upcoming events?
Our Annual Benefit is this Sunday. It’s more critical now because of the October Flood’s impact on Buddy Walk in October. In September, we will host the Family Connection Run, Walk or Stroll at Saluda Shoals and the Buddy Walk in October. Several other events take place throughout the year, in addition to regular monthly parent support groups and family events.
What’s the best way for someone to contact your organization to find out more about its services?
FamilyConnectionSC.org, (803) 252-0914. (800) 578-8750.
Para Espanol: 888-808-7462.