Updated 10/18/2012 06:59 PM
DCF Commissioner attends Family Place open house in North Adams
The Family Place in North Adams held its open house Thursday. The event was kicked off by the state Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, who spoke at the event. Berkshire County reporter Madeleine Rivera talked to him to learn more about his plans for family resource centers in Massachusetts.
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- "They take care of me and my son. They give me all the resources," said Angela Mason.
She is a visitor at the Family Place in North Adams. It has been open since March, but it held its open house Thursday. The Commissioner of the state's Department of Children and Families, Angelo McClain, gave some history behind the centers.
"Three years ago, we came up with this idea to create family resource centers," he said to the crowd.
McClain, along with other state officials, have a goal to create about 40 family resource centers across the state. So far, 10 have been established.
"When we partner with families, they respond to us different. If we say to them, we're here to help you and sometimes, those are the seven words you don't want to hear from government. But in the family resource center, it's one concrete way of saying we're really here to help you," said McClain.
The Family Place was made possible by a $266,000 grant by the DCF. It also shares resources with four other family organizations, including Childcare of the Berkshires, Berkshire Children and Families, the county office for the DCF and the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, which is actually located in the same building as the Family Place.
Jacqueline McKeon uses the center's services and also volunteers there.
"They actually helped me pick out a day care and get my kid enrolled in Headstart, so both my kids are in daycare or Headstart now to free up a little bit of my life and get a break and can possibly go to work," said McKeon.
The Family Place is a walk-in center and is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. There are no fees to use the center's services.