F.A.C.T. began in 1987, when two mothers of children with disabilities sought to unravel the “mystery” of the special education process, which so often had left families like ours feeling frustrated, overwhelmed and alone.
Conception led to birth when they were awarded their first grant from the HFB (Handicapped Facilities Board, now known as the DDRB: Developmental Disabilities Resource Board). Although the grant was much less than the $53,000 they had requested, they refused to be deterred. They continued to work towards getting funding so that they could continue to provide services to parents, and they were successful. Soon after incorporation the struggle to provide Educational Advocacy began. The agency continued to build community relationships and to work towards serving more families. Agency staff sought and received much of their initial training from the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The agency grew and matured through individual and group efforts – not the least of which was and has continued to be a strong and dedicated board of directors.
In 2002 we were awarded our first grant from the CCRB (Community and Children’s Resource Board of St. Charles County), which allowed us to begin serving families that had children with Serious Emotional Disorders (SED) instead of only serving children diagnosed with a Developmental Disability. The agency had been an important part of an earlier SAMSHA grant awarded to the county to serve children and families with SED through a new evidence based federal program. We developed many community partners during this project and those partnerships still exist today. Together with Crider Health Center we provide the Partnership with Families program; a strength based, family driven program that supports families with children with SED that are at high risk of out-of-home placements.
In 2007 F.A.C.T. worked toward becoming accredited by the Council on Quality and Leadership. It was important to the board of directors that we were able to measure our programs and services against not only national but international standards of excellence. We were very excited when we learned that we had been granted 4 year accreditation status with a perfect score.
In 2009 we were able to offer our Partnership With Families services to Franklin County and Lincoln County through generous grants from their children’s resource boards.
Our first grant in 1987 was for $6000. Now we are working with a $1,069,473.00 budget, with 17 dedicated employees, in three counties, that allowed us to serve 608 families in 2011. The success of the agency is tied directly to its mission which is to empower families through advocacy and training to improve the quality of life and opportunities for children and young adults with disabilities. We are in the process of building a community where ALL children and young adults are supported through their challenges, valued for their diversity and fully included as they choose.
Our goal? To create a program in which parents were encouraged to actively participate in their child’s education, where family and community resources were rallied, and where better learning and high school completion were enthusiastically supported and encouraged.
Today, we partner with families, schools and the community with the goal of improving the quality of life and opportunities for children and young adults with disabilities.