Thirty years ago, the movie “Home Alone” was released, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics were released and George W. Bush was our President. Also, in Kentucky the Family Resource Youth Services Centers were starting to develop. McCracken County Schools opened its first FRYSC serving Farley Elementary and Reidland Middle Schools in July of 1994.
Family Resource Youth Services Centers has been significantly impacting the lives of students and families in Kentucky for over 30 years. Following a declaration by the Kentucky Supreme Court that Kentucky’s education system was inefficient and inequitable, the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) was formed.
In response to growing concerns and desire to remove barriers to educational success, the Kentucky General Assembly created the Family Resource Youth Services Centers (FRYSC’s) as an integral part of the reform system. The need for education and human service systems to engage in the joint provision of services and support to children, youth and families had rapidly increased. The growing number and complexity of problems faced by our society (e.g. poverty, family restructuring, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse and domestic and youth violence) have caused increasing levels of stress on families and children-stress that children bring to the classroom, which creates barriers to learning.
These problems have also placed a greater demand on public service agencies and demonstrate a need for community and schools to work together to restore family and child well-being. KERA provided an unprecedented state-level partnership between Kentucky’s Department of Education and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. These partnerships share the responsibility of implementing and sustaining centers across the state.
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services and Division of FRYSC, has the responsibility for administration of this program, where the Kentucky Department of Education continues to provide technical support for the public education mandate. Now more than 3 decades since inception, the Kentucky Family Resource and Youth Services Centers are recognized as the nation’s largest school-based family support initiative.
These centers are designed to address the needs of children by developing partnerships with school, family and community to help all public-school students reach proficiency. Recent surveys report that educators, parents and community partners feel that the Family Resource and Youth Services Centers are a “necessary component of Kentucky educational programming and “a program vital to students, empowering families, and helping to improve schools.”
In 1991 just over 100 Family Resource and Youth Services Centers were opened in Kentucky. In 2021 centers now have grown to 857 serving 1200 schools.
This year, Family Resource Youth Services Centers across the state are being recognized the week of February 8-12. Legislators are working on legislation to make the 2nd Wednesday of February of each year FRYSC Day in Kentucky.