The City of Alexandria and local partners are collaborating with Fairfax County Department of Family Services’ Children, Youth and Families (CYF) Division to provide text support for a Parent Support Line.
CYF developed the Parent Support Line to help parents and caregivers manage the stress of parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing callers with a listening ear, parenting advice, support and tips to help navigate emotional and relational parenting issues.
When members of Alexandria’s trauma informed community network (TICN), Resilience Alexandria: Inform. Support. Elevate. (RAISE), learned of the support line during a statewide TICN meeting, they reached out to CYF to figure out a way to collaborate, offering to leverage an existing City text line resource to make the support service available to more families in Northern Virginia.
Expanding the reach of the support line both in terms of geography and technology was a natural fit for RAISE, says RAISE Co-Coordinator Chelsea Eickert, who also coordinates Alexandria’s Children and Youth Master Plan.
“Early on, RAISE was charged with developing a community mental health and resilience plan to promote wellness among Alexandrians during the pandemic,” says Eickert. “This fit right in.”
RAISE members from the Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS),Center for Children and Families, Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy (ACAP) and the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria (SAPCA) met with CYF members to work out a plan to use a text line funded by ACAP for the support line. Staff from the Alexandria Police Department, DCHS, SAPCA, Alexandria Public Schools and Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) offered to coordinate, operate and monitor the text line.
“This is a wonderful story of collaboration,” says RAISE Co-Director and Center for Children and Families Director Stacey Hardy-Chandler. “It shows how artificial jurisdictional lines are, and how resources can expand and grow when we partner together. Both of our communities are benefiting from our joint efforts.”
To access the Parent Support Line, call 703.324.7720 or text “SUPPORT” or “PARENTING” to 30644 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Support is available in English and Spanish. View or download a flyer about the service for more information.