Family Connection receives federal grant

Published 4:22 pm Monday, October 12, 2015

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The Family Connection nonprofit organization recently received a hefty federal grant through the Family and Youth Services Bureau.

Family Connection, which has provided multiple services to those facing crisis for nearly four decades, has been awarded a basic center grant in the amount of $187,980 to assist Family Connection in meeting the immediate needs of runaway and homeless youth by providing access to emergency shelter, food, clothing, counseling and referrals for health care, said Director of Program Development Susan Johnston.

Family Connection’s basic center program will provide emergency shelter for up to 21 days while focusing on reuniting youth with their families, whenever possible, or locating appropriate alternative placements, Johnston said.

“Statistics show that the majority (48 percent) of youth identify family dynamics (divorce, remarriage, step/blended families, problems with family rules, discipline or problems with siblings) and abuse as the reason they run away from home,” Johnston wrote in an email. “Often, youth run away from home to remove themselves from an immediately painful situation, but with no plans for what to do. Away from home without parental care and supervision, these young people are high risk for victimization and vulnerable to human traffickers.”

Family Connection is an affiliate of the National Runaway Safeline, which can be reached at 1-800-RUN-AWAY.

“ Providing youth access to shelter is important to protect them from the risks of becoming victimized or trapped in human trafficking,” Johnston wrote. “All Family Connection programs and services focus on safety for children and youth and the basic center program aligns with our vision of children, youth and families – each one – safe and healthy.”