Securing Brighter Futures for the Youth of Today

The following organization in Philadelphia focuses its efforts towards children in the most important early years of their development.

The goal of Family Support Services (FSS) is to advance the healthy development of young children by strengthening the capacity of families to nurture them. FSS is a non-profit social service agency that offers a variety of services to meet the needs of Philadelphia’s parents and children. The services offered through FSS are provided for children between birth and five years of age and include the following programs:

Early Intervention (EI): The Early Intervention Program exists to provide direct services to infants, toddlers and/or preschoolers who have been diagnosed with a 25% or greater delay in their development. The program is made up of teachers, social workers and occupational and physical therapists that work with children individually. Services are often provided in homes, daycares or preschools as well as shelters, libraries or other locations selected by the parent or guardian. FSS also offers a monthly parent education program for parents of preschool children with significant developmental delays.

The Early Intervention (EI) Center – The EI Center is designed to help children reach their full potential. Children can attend the Center in the morning from 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. or in the afternoon from 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

girl with crownTo be eligible for EI services, children must demonstrate a 25% (or greater) delay in one or more areas of development, or have been diagnosed with other certain conditions.

Child Welfare:  FSS’s Child Welfare division is designed to help families with very young children overcome challenges. The goal of this program is to reduce child abuse and neglect as well as improve the child’s overall health. The Child Welfare program also provides Philadelphia residents with parenting education and support to help them better understand how young children develop and grow. FSS offers the following Child Welfare programs:

Family School – Family school serves as an education program for young parents of children from birth to five years of age. The program teaches parents about their children’s needs and helps them develop positive parenting techniques. All families are referred to the Family School program by the Philadelphia Department of Human Resources (DHS). Parents and children attend Family School together two days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Evening and weekend classes are also available for parents who are unable to attend the week day sessions.

In Home Protective Services (IHPS) – IHPS is designed to provide support and services to families engaged in behaviors which result in child abuse or neglect. This program helps families to eliminate any safety threats, keep children in their homes, prevent new threats from occurring and improve the family’s ability to nurture their children. IHPS also works with the parents to ensure that children are getting the medical, academic, social and emotional help they need to live healthy lives.

Pre-Alternative Response Partnership – Through the Pre-Alternative Response Partnership, support is given to parents and their young children before a crisis occurs. This program is a voluntary, home-visiting, preventive program that offers parenting assistance and advice to families. The goal of this program is to enhance a child’s beginning and improve their changes for a successful and healthy future.

DHS Parenting Collaborative – Through DHS Parenting Collaborative, FSS offers parents a 12 week program to help strengthen their parenting skills and enhance their knowledge of child development. This program is a voluntary, community based parenting education program. Each session is conducted with an FSS parent educator and lasts about two hours.

Healthy Start –This program strives to improve infant health by providing young mothers and pregnant women with resources to ensure positive birth and infant health. Healthy Start is a home visiting program where all clients receive two home visits a month while pregnant and weekly visits for the first six weeks post partum. After the first six weeks of weekly visits, “low risk” clients will receive quarterly visits. However, “moderate” and “high risk” clients will continue to receive visits every two weeks. Topics discussed during visits include: health and parenting, education, optimal birth spacing, home safety, infant care, child development, post-partum depression and the prevention of chronic disease.

Call (215) 471-3320 or visit  to learn more about Family Support Services (FSS).

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