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EPIC receives $1.8 million to open family opportunity centers in 2 counties


Tue, Apr 25th 2023 02:40 pm

EPIC-Every Person Influences Children has received support from the Office of Children and Family Services Family Opportunity Center. EPIC was awarded $1.8 million in funding over the next three years to open centers in Niagara and Cattaraugus counties.

“We are incredibly excited to continue to grow our presence and have a greater capacity to serve families in Niagara and Cattaraugus counties through this innovative endeavor,” said Tara N. Burgess, EPIC’s executive director. “This funding will allow us to provide support and resources in these two communities. Additionally, a portion of the funding will go directly to the families served to help with emergent needs, which is a groundbreaking way of thinking about families and the barriers they may experience when trying to provide for their children.”

The centers will work in partnership with the local departments of Social Services, community organizations, and school districts in the two counties. EPIC will provide case management support and several evidence-based programs with the goal of strengthening families and improving the safety and wellbeing of children and families.

“Niagara County Department of Social Services is incredibly excited to work with EPIC and have their support in helping serve families within our Niagara County community," said Billie Tylec, director of services at Niagara County DSS. "This will be such a great resource, and have such a positive impact on families and children!”

Anthony Turano, commissioner of the Cattaraugus County Department of Social Services, said, "We appreciate the opportunity to create partnerships to aide in our ongoing work to engage and strengthen families in Cattaraugus County. Rural communities like ours have similar challenges when working with families, but often struggle with having adequate community partners. EPIC will help fill those gaps in services."

EPIC will implement programs such as “Incredible Years,” “Triple P (Positive Parenting Program),” “Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP),” and “Strong African American Families (SAAF)” through this funding. EPIC offers these and other programs to families throughout Western New York.

“EPIC currently has active partnerships with community groups and schools in Niagara County, and a direct contract with Salamanca City Central School District; so expanding EPIC’s services in those regions made so much sense,” said Sam Costa, EPIC’s board chair.

EPIC is currently hiring staff for both the Niagara and Cattaraugus sites. For more information on the centers, or available positions, contact EPIC Director of Development and Marketing Liz Vetrano.

A press release stated, “EPIC-Every Person Influences Children is a nonprofit agency with the mission of strengthening families and building community to raise children who make a positive impact in the world. EPIC offers in-person and virtual trainings and workshops in parenting, family engagement, youth services and professional development. All EPIC services carry out founder Robert Wilson’s vision of a world where every child has a strong start and a promising future.”

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