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The Family Place was founded in 1985 in White River Junction by a concerned group of community members. A small storefront in downtown White River Junction served as the first location for the organization. In 1988, following a merger with the Parent Aide program and Learning to Listen (a therapeutic preschool), The Family Place became designated as the Parent Child Center for Windsor County by the Vermont Agency of Human Services.
The Family Place’s designation as a Parent Child Center is key to understanding who we are and what we do. Designation as a Parent Child Center involves a commitment to a set of common principles, philosophy, and core services that say we are, in fact, a Parent Child Center.
Parent Child Centers were established in the mid to late 1980’s by the Vermont Legislature (Act 0227B describing parent child center eligibility and responsibilities). The state of Vermont first awarded state funds to Parent Child Centers in Fiscal Year 1988. Vermont continues to support Parent Child Centers with state funds that are distributed among all sixteen centers. Vermont leads the nation as the first state to sponsor Parent Child Centers. Vermont is the only state whose legislature has made this level of commitment and maintained it over time.
Vermont Parent Child Centers are seen as a model for community-based family support services throughout the nation. They have been recognized by Time Magazine (1997), Harvard Family Research Project, National Coalition for Children in Poverty, and National Family Resource Coalition as exemplary model providers of community-based family support.
The last few years have seen great improvements in our physical presence in Norwich, Vermont. In December, 2008, The Family Place purchased the Olcott building which neighbors our existing site on Route 5 South. The building was fully renovated and completed in the Fall of 2009 when staff moved into the new offices and the new playroom was opened to playgroup families. The Olcott building is also home to the colorful JewelryOs studio where mothers in the Families Learning Together program learn both the creative and technical aspects of running a small business.
The Carriage House also received some much-needed renovations in 2010 to better accommodate the Childcare Center, offices, and a reception area. In 2011 it was time for the Cape to get some attention; newly renovated offices, meeting rooms, a dining room and a kitchen were the result.
The Family Place will continue to grow in response to need. We are committed to providing the best possible service to families who need extra support while their children are young. Central to our approach is helping parents and families find the services they want rather than telling families what they need. We recognize that it is strong, flexible family-centered support rather than a rigid, programmatic approach that makes a lasting difference.
319 US Rte 5 South
Norwich, Vermont 05055
52 Olcott Drive
Wilder, Vermont 05055
*Playgroups meet at the Olcott House