Tishomingo Families First expands bases

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal

IUKA – As needs for family support services have grown, the Tishomingo County Families First Resource Center has expanded to provide more access in several counties.
The free program now has full-time staff in Alcorn, Prentiss and Tippah counties as well as Tishomingo, while providing some programs and services in Benton and Marshall counties, said program director Janice Cutshall.
“We’re providing services that help families achieve stability, with the goal of helping keep families intact,” she said.
Many programs and services that support the agency’s goals include parenting classes, healthy marriage and relationship classes, fatherhood classes and abstinence classes.
They also organize support groups for domestic violence, foster parenting, grandparenting, divorce education, financial management and have an extensive resource library.

Visitations
“At the request of the Department of Human Services we also supervise visitations through the court system,” Cutshall said. “Many of our services are tailored for the particular community, such as coordinating Angel Tree donations in Tishomingo County.”
Another area where Families First staff members have established good rapport is with the youth court system, acting as a liaison with schools to keep young offenders moving forward educationally.
“We have a computer lab with software for remedial work and can help if there are problems with grades and after-school tutoring,” Cutshall said.
The Temporary Assistance to Needy Families grant for the funding year that began Oct. 1, 2009, requires that counties with a population of 20,000 or more be served by a full-time office.
Tishomingo County Families First was established in 2000, and expanded to provided limited services in Alcorn and Prentiss counties in 2004. The TANF grant further extended their services into Benton, Marshall and Tippah counties in 2008, but again on a limited basis.
“We opened offices in Alcorn, Prentiss and Tippah counties in October 2009 and are still getting our feet on the ground, but we want people to know we’re there to help in whatever ways they need us,” Cutshall said.

Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.