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What Is a Family Life Center?

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  • Written By: Pablo Garcia
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2016
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In the US, a family life center is a non-profit community service organization. These centers offer individual and couples counseling, outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment, as well as domestic violence counseling and education groups for at-risk youth. Many centers are faith-based and in addition to counseling, provide items such as food, clothing, and household goods. Group bible study classes are also offered.

The mission of faith-based family life centers is to provide places within communities where socially and economically disadvantaged families can receive education, training, and economic assistance. Secular centers for family life devote their resources to mental health, chemical dependency, domestic violence and other family health issues.

In the area of domestic violence, a family life center offers services to both victims and perpetrators. Victim and perpetrator counseling is held separately because of the dynamics of domestic violence, which involve issues of power and control. There are courses specifically tailored for those who have been criminally charged with domestic battery and court-ordered to obtain counseling. Some centers use the “Duluth Model,” which is an intensive 26 week training program on the causes and prevention of domestic violence.

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Several types of counseling are available at a family life center. Family counseling focuses on building healthy and honest relationships among all the family members. Marriage and relationship counseling is designed to improve communication between couples and teach them positive conflict resolution skills. There are specific sessions for children and adolescents coping with family or personal issues. Individual counseling is available for problems unique to a particular family member.

For families struggling with addiction, intensive outpatient treatment and counseling can be obtained through a family life centers. Some of these programs can last up to six months. The goal of treatment is the eventual active participation by the affected family member in a self-help group like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

A family life center that is faith-based is generally also a community resource for AA and NA meetings. Bible-based family, individual, and couples counseling is available. Most faith-based centers assist in material as well as spiritual matters, providing food, clothing, and infant needs. Most centers have their own supplies, available at little or no cost. There is also help with family matters such as a teen pregnancy, single parenting, and obtaining safe affordable child care.

Economic self-sufficiency for the people it serves is also one of the goals of faith-based family life centers. Many centers assist with employment preparation, improving job skills through continuing education, and the provision of child care. Some provide training in budget planning and assistance in paying bills.

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