Building Family Ties
The Children's Home Society of Washington reaches out to families living in the urban areas of King County, as well as the farming country of South East Washington. These families are experiencing a variety of social pressures. For example, there has been a notable increase in domestic violence among migrant workers in King County. Many families are unable to take advantage of social service programs available to them due to their lack of transportation. In rural areas, seasonal migrant workers harvest crops that were once widely exported. However, in recent years exports have dwindled, leaving many migrant families unemployed and in desperate financial straits.
The Children's Home Society of Washington has long served children and families. In alignment with its mission to build the whole family, the organization’s Strong Partners and Relationships for Kids (SPARK) program includes classes to strengthen family ties and build healthy marriages. "We have always been aware that relationship issues are always present, and we have a strong philosophy of family support here that looks at the whole family, not just one member," said Mike Fitzpatrick, director of the SPARK program. Many parents who have completed the SPARK program have improved their communication skills; they are calmer and happier, and most importantly, better parents.