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Family Support Services

We provide services to help families thrive

Sometimes families need help. Maybe it’s help with meeting concrete needs, like paying for child care or putting food on the table. Maybe it’s help with overcoming challenges, like getting back to work after a long stretch of unemployment. Or maybe it’s help to better understand your child’s developmental needs and build your parenting skills.

Women, Infants, & Children

Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) provides healthy foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and referrals to healthcare and community services. Families of all types qualify for WIC.

WIC clients are pregnant, postpartum, and/or breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to age five. To receive WIC, parents or guardians must meet income eligibility requirements or receive Denali Kid Care, the Alaska Temporary Assistance Program (ATAP), or SNAP. If you don’t qualify for these programs, you may still qualify for WIC by meeting the income guidelines for your household.

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Locations

Alaska Family Services’ WIC clinics are located in Palmer, Wasilla, Kenai, and Homer and our WIC services extend to all Mat-Su communities, Seward and the communities surrounding Kachemak Bay.

Wasilla WIC Phone- 376-4080
Wasilla WIC Fax-  373-0640

Palmer WIC Phone- 746-4080
Palmer WIC Fax- 746-1177

Kenai WIC Phone- 283-4172 or 1-800-687-4172
Kenai WIC Fax- 283-4147

Homer WIC Phone- 235-5495
Homer WIC Fax- 235-0655

Child Care Assistance Program

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Alaska Family Services’ Child Care Assistance Program assists families with children ages 12 and under to pay for quality child care services while parents or guardians are participating in an eligible activity, such as working or attending an educational or job training program.

Based on their household size and monthly gross income, families pay a monthly contribution to their child care provider.

Eligibility for families is based on family size and gross monthly income. The family must use a child care provider who has elected to receive payments from the Child Care Assistance Program. Benefits are paid directly to the child care provider.

For qualifying families, child care assistance offers two different types of assistance:

Parents Achieving Self Sufficiency (PASS II)

This assistance issues benefits for families that are leaving the Temporary Assistance Program. PASS II assistance is provided for a 12-month period for families that still need help with child care while attending work, job training, or schooling.

Parents Achieving Self Sufficiency (PASS III)

Support for families that are working, in job training, or attending schooling that are not leaving the Temporary Assistance program but need assistance affording child care.

Child Care Assistance Locations & Contact

The Anchorage Child Care Assistance Program office provides services to eligible families within the Municipality of Anchorage.

Anchorage Phone: 644-5000
Anchorage Fax: 644-5020

The Central Child Care Assistance Program office provides services to eligible families in the Mat-Su Borough as well as the Valdez and Cordova census areas.

Wasilla Phone: 373-4450
Wasilla Fax: 1-888-415-4868

Family Support and Preservation Program

Photo of parent and child's feet

The Family Support & Preservation Program (FSPP) offers a range of programs that teach parenting skills and strategies, strengthen parent and child relationships, and help keep children safe.

For more information call (907) 745-4920.

Parents as Teachers

Parents as Teachers (PAT) PAT is an evidence based, home visiting, parent education program. We follow a strengths-based curriculum designed for children prenatal up to 5 years to help the parents learn activities and milestones for their children to ensure Kindergarten readiness and alleviate childhood neglect.

PAT typically includes in home sessions with parents, but those are currently happening virtually or outside. PAT focuses on the well-being of the entire family through trained staff who assist parents with activities or answer questions so they learn the best way to help their children thrive or, if pregnant, ensure they are getting the care they need and getting ready for their new addition.

Parenting Classes

FSPP offers a 6-week parenting class that starts the first Wednesday of every even month. We use the Active Parenting Now curriculum to help parents improve their parenting skills and their child’s behavior. Any parent or guardian can participate in this class and foster parents can earn training hours towards their certification by completing the class. There is a $25 per person/couple fee for the 6-week course. Participants must attend all 6 classes to receive a certificate of completion.

Family Support (FS)

FS is an in-home support service for self-referred families and families referred by community partners. FS provides parent education using the strengths-based curriculum Nurturing Families. There are alternative curriculums for families with special needs (e.g., families with autistic children) or military families. There are no age restrictions for the children in the families who participate in FS.

Circles of Support (COS)

COS is an in-home support service program offered to families referred by OCS. COS provides parent education using the strengths-based curriculum Nurturing Families. There are alternative curriculums for families with special needs (e.g., families with autistic children) or military families. There are no age restrictions for the children in the families who participate in COS.

Family Contact Services (FCS)

The primary purpose of FCS is to ensure safe family time for parents and their children who reside in out-of-home care. Parent coaching, a key component of FCS, helps parents increase their parenting capabilities, family communication skills, and ability to develop child centered family activities so that reunification can occur.

AFS’ FCS program uses the Strengthening Families model and Active Parenting Now curriculum during family time and we’ve implemented the policies and procedures detailed in the R.O.C.K. Mat-Su Family Contact Best Practices Guide for Professionals.

There are no age restrictions for the children in the families who participate in FCS. OCS must refer families to the FCS program.

Breastfeeding Peer Counselors

Breastfeeding Peer Counseling offers you a unique opportunity to talk to someone who is trained in providing breastfeeding support, has experience being on Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and went through a breastfeeding journey with their own children.

Our Breastfeeding Peer Counselors will provide you with guidance, support, and up-to-date information while you are pregnant and especially after delivery. You will have unrestricted access to the peer counselor via phone, even after WIC office hours and on weekends. Breastfeeding Peer Counselors will help prevent and handle most common breastfeeding concerns and will provide a referral to a lactation consultant if further assistance is needed.

Any breastfeeding mom can participate in our Zoom breastfeeding classes, facilitated by a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor. In order meet individually with Breastfeeding Peer Counselors you must be a client of the WIC program.

Contact Tessa at 376-4080 for more information on our breastfeeding classes. 

Work Services and Job Development

The Work Services and Job Development (WSJD) helps clients gain employment for their families, keep employment, and/or progress employment by either promotion or improved status.

WSJD case technicians provide one on one support to help the parents we serve achieve work readiness. The WSJD job developer partners with clients for resume and other work readiness specific training and works with local employers in the community to match them with clients seeking employment.

WSJD serves individuals referred by the Department of Public Assistance (DPA). When a family has been on the Alaska Temporary Assistance Program (ATAP) with DPA for 24 months, the parents are referred to WSJD for a more intense job search or job development. Families are eligible for services for the next 36 months.

For more information call (907) 352-2600.

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Tobacco Prevention & Control

The Tobacco Prevention & Control (TPC) Program is a community-based program that promotes the benefits of quitting and smoke-free environments, prevents youth initiation, and engages as an educational advocate of policies that reduce the burden tobacco has on our community.

TPC Offers:

  • Community outreach at organized health fairs and gatherings
  • A wide variety of resources for quitting
  • Presentations to middle and high school students at community meetings
  • Presentations to other agencies
  • Facilitation of youth intervention using evidence-based programs such as INDEPTH (Intervention for Nicotine Dependence:  Education, Prevention, Tobacco and Health) and NOT (Not-On-Tobacco)

The TPC Coordinator is also embedded in several community coalitions that include organizations who provide services to vulnerable populations throughout the valley.

The Coordinator currently chairs Thrive Mat-Su, a substance abuse prevention coalition, and Breathe Free Mat-Su, a coalition of public health advocates for clean air and tobacco-free environments.

The TPC Coordinator is also the president of the Mat-Su Agency Partnership, an integrated community of health, education, public safety, and social service organizations providing services and resources to the Mat-Su Valley.

Additionally, TPC participates in Homeless Connect, an annual Borough wide count in time census. This year, TPC will serve as one of the quad chairs for this event, scheduled to be held in January. AFS also continues as a liaison and point of contact for the community regarding information and other resources related to tobacco prevention and cessation.

For more information, call (907) 746-6131.

Thanksgiving Baskets

The Thanksgiving Basket program ensures local families are provided the items needed to have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday.

Baskets are tailored to the size of the family from 1 to 10 members. A “small box” is one that feeds 1-5 people. A “large box” feeds 6-10 people.

Baskets are filled with generous donations from our partners, community members, and staff. Each basket includes a letter from all of the community partners who contributed to the meal.

Apply to receive a Thanksgiving basket at any Alaska Family Services' locations. The application period begins at the end of October and the deadline to apply is the Friday before Thanksgiving. Participants will need an identification in order to pick up their basket on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

Donor information forms also available at any of our locations.

 

To learn more please contact Emily Houk at emilyh1@akafs.org

Special Santa

Special Santa recipients

The Mat-Su Special Santa program was founded in 1997 and has helped over 47,000 Mat-Su children, newborns to 18 year olds, receive holiday gifts.

Special Santa helps spread the magic of Christmas by providing families in need with presents for their children and bringing the community together through volunteer opportunities in the workshop for fundraising events.

For more information, applications & donation forms, please visit www.specialsanta.net