Family resource help available in county

POLK COUNTY -- 211 Family Info -- a resource helpline similar to 211 Info -- is now available to Polk County families.

POLK COUNTY -- 211 Family Info -- a resource helpline similar to 211 Info -- is now available to Polk County families.

The resource is for parents of children up to age 8 who are struggling and don't know where to turn for assistance. 211 Family's specialists are trained in early child development and direct parents to agencies or organizations offering assistance.

"This is really a resource in itself, an introduction to the resources that exist in the community already that parents may not know about," said Angela Gonzales of Mid-Valley Parenting of Polk County, a division of the Polk County Commission for Children & Families. "It allows us to provide comprehensive support to families in an efficient way."

Polk is the first rural county to pilot the program, which is already available in the Portland-metropolitan area.

Gonzales said the availability of programs such as the county's parenting education and service integration teams in each community played a role in Polk County being selected as the first rural county to offer 211 Family Info.

The pilot program will continue until the end of the year.

Gonzales said the mission of 211 Family Info is to help parents avoid the frustrating experience of having to make several calls to find assistance, or give up before finding what they need.

"It can be an intimidating thing to ask for help," she said. "Admitting you are struggling, that is not easy. With 211 Family, they can brainstorm with a specialist who can show them that there is local support available to them.

"There is a myriad of resources and that can be overwhelming," she continued. "This allows a family to call one number."

To reach 211 Family Info, dial 211, email children@211info.org or text "children" to 898211.

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