Impact Series: LA Valley College’s Family Resource Center Boosts Student Parent Success

July 25, 2019 |

This blog is part of Ascend’s Impact Series: stories and stats that illustrate the powerful, tangible impact a two-generation (2Gen) approach can have in building prosperity and opportunity for families. 

The Family Resource Center (FRC) at Los Angeles Valley College is a model two-generation (2Gen) strategy. FRC advances social and economic mobility for students who are parents by providing wrap-around programming and supports to help parents succeed in school and secure employment. It is the first and only Family Resource Center on a community college campus in California.

Founded in 2000 by director Marni Roosevelt, the FRC has since grown to offer parent and child playgroups, kid friendly study lounges, tutoring, academic counseling, a free children’s clothing exchange and free organic produce. A marriage family therapist and a licensed social worker are on staff. Faculty and staff have been trained by the Brazelton Touchpoints Center at Harvard University and have integrated their strength-based approach as a foundation for working with families.

This kind of holistic, evidence-informed model is very unique – and very successful. The FRC found that 80 percent of LA Valley College students who use the center successfully complete their semester. For other students on campus, the rate is 69 percent. The FRC serves about 540 parents/grandparents and about 225 children – mostly children under 5 – each semester.

And after the Los Angeles Valley College Workforce Strategy Center partnered with the FRC to embed holistic family support into all workforce training academies, workforce participants that complete the Strengthening Working Families (SWF) academies have a 97% job placement rate; an 11% increase from prior academies that hadn’t had FRC support embedded in. 

The FRC was recently profiled in a PBS NewsHour piece, and featured the experience of Amber Angel, the FRC’s program coordinator and a parent advisor with the Aspen Postsecondary Success for Parents Initiative. In the video, Amber says:

“The child care was a huge piece. I would’ve never made it to school and started here had I not had it. But one of the things, I think, that’s unique is that there’s so much more than just that. Right? I didn’t know that I was going to have to do group work. I didn’t know I was going to have to come back to campus after I left. Going to study at a library is really hard with a two year old. And that’s one of the things the Family Resource Center offered that I didn’t have previously. But the biggest is that I met other parents. Like, when I’d come to study, and I’d sit in the computer lab, I met other moms.”

With 1 in 5 college students raising children, it is critical to identify and scale effective organizations such as the FRC, and policies that support this large and critical population. Investments in the postsecondary success of parents with young children can increase attainment of credentials leading to good jobs, bring children the benefits of high-quality learning environments, promote later college-going among children, and improve family economic security across generations. 

Watch the PBS NewsHour report and learn more about the Aspen Postsecondary Success for Parents Initiative.

Photo caption: Amber Angel, from the recent PBS NewsHour report

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