As a result of the merger between the California Family Resource Association (CFRA) and the California Family Support Network (CFSN, formally known as the California Network of Family Strengthening Networks), the CFSN Steering Committee continued its work with the CFRA representing networks from across the state (urban, rural, suburban. . The Steering Committee was comprised of volunteer champions in the field that saw the need to connect family support programs, agencies, stakeholders and were responsible for carrying out the goals of the CFSN.
CFSN was established by leaders in the field of family support and strengthening in 2009 with the goals of: 1) Connect and convene member network leaders in order to promote effectiveness, peer learning, and peer support. 2) Promote the implementation of the Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening and Support (the Standards), through dissemination, training, and capacity building, and 3) explore and implement strategies for sustainability.
In the early years, the CFSN had strong membership with over 800 organizations and over 28 networks represented. The CFSN was able to secure small grants to support with the infrastructure of the CFSN however, over time with a voluntary leadership team, the growth of the CFSN, struggled after the Standards went national and with that, the backbone organization and key leadership transitioned to move the Standards forward nationally.
Since 2013, without having a strong backbone organization, and the lack of capacity of the leadership team to provide the support needed to sustain the day-to-day operations the CFSN struggled to effectively move goals forward.
In the winter of 2018, members of the current CFSN approached California Family Resource Association (CFRA) to discuss a merge, with the end goal of the Network becoming a committee under the CFRA umbrella, an agency that has the capacity to be the backbone organization for the Network and whose mission/goals align with the CFSN. In 2019, a leadership team comprised of CFSN members and CFRA staff met monthly to move the merger forward.
In January 2020, the merger was finalized and CFRA’s Networks Committee was created. The Networks Committee will continue on with the support of CFRA and a focus on the 3c’s: Convene, Communicate and Connect members and key stakeholders from across the state.