Parent Support Workshop Provides One-Stop Center for Services for Low-Income Families with Children

Oct. 5, 2010

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For the second time this year, First Baptist Church of Waco and Baylor University's Center for Family and Community Ministries (CFCM) will hold a Parent Support Workshop from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, at First Baptist Church's Activity Center at Fifth Street and Webster Avenue. The event will bring together more than 20 agencies to provide application assistance and information about services available to families who are struggling financially.

"Together, these agencies and nonprofits provide comprehensive assistance to single parents and low income families who need help," said Jodi Terwilliger-Stacey, a member of First Baptist Church of Waco and workshop coordinator. "This workshop provides a 'one-stop-shop' for assistance on a Saturday so that working parents can get help without missing hours or days of work. No one can afford to lose a job or to lose hours at work while attempting to get assistance from multiple agencies."

The Parent Support Workshop for low-income families with children could not come at a better time, especially with data from the latest Census showing the general poverty rate in the nation hitting a 50-year high. In Texas, most indicators for poverty related to families and children are far above the national norm (see table at the end of release).

"Many parents are working more than one job, but still are only one medical visit or car repair away from financial crisis," said Dr. Jon Singletary, director of the Center for Family and Community Ministries (CFCM) and The Diana R. Garland Endowed Chair in Child and Family Studies at the Baylor School of Social Work, which houses the Center.

New at this fall's workshop will be a half-hour class on tenants' rights presented by the Legal Assistance Project. The class will be offered three times: 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. New agencies participating this year include the Social Security Administration, Texas Health Steps and STARRY Counseling, which provides free counseling for families with children ages 17 and younger.

A complete list of service areas covered at the workshop can be found on the CFCM website at http://www.baylor.edu/social_work/cfcm/index.php?id=77451.

The CFCM website also provides information about the documentation attendees need to bring to the workshop to apply for TANF (welfare), SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid and/or CHIP (Children's health Insurance Program). It also details what information attendees need to bring if they need assistance locating an absent parent, establishing paternity or establishing or enforcing child support.

More than 80 volunteers will be on hand to assist with applications, make appointments, answer questions and counsel with individuals. Sandwiches and snacks will be provided to workshop attendees. Free childcare for children up to 12 years of age will be provided. Pre-register for childcare from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday by calling (254) 752-3000 or in español call (254) 754-3503.

"Single moms employed in minimum wage jobs are finding it nearly impossible to make ends meet," Terwilliger-Stacey said. "Grandparents are struggling to raise their grandchildren on limited, fixed incomes. Couples raising children are fighting to stay afloat in this economy. The comprehensive assistance they need will be provided at the Parent Support Workshop."

Poverty Statistics for Waco, Texas

• Families below poverty level - 20.4% [compared to 9.6% at national level]

• Families with children under 18 years old below poverty level - 29.6% [compared to

14.9% at national level]

• Families with children under 5 years old below poverty level - 40.7%

• Families with female householder (no husband present) below poverty level -

41.5% [compared to 28.2% at national level]

• Families with children under 18 years old (female householder - no husband

present) - 48.9% [compared to 36.5% at national level]

• Families with children under 5 years old (female householder - no husband

present) - 61.8%

• Percent of families where householder worked and still below poverty level -

16.2%

• Percent of families where female householder (no husband present) worked and

still below poverty level - 32.7%

• Percent of families where householder worked full-time and still below poverty

level - 9.6%

• Percent of families where female householder (no husband present) worked

full-time and still below poverty level - 20.1%

SOURCE: 2006-2008 American Community Survey

Media contact: Jodi Terwilliger-Stacey, , Parent Support Workshop Coordinator, (254) 495-7460 and Sam Oakley, Center for Family and Community Ministries, Baylor University School of Social Work, (254) 710-3781

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