The Tri-County Community Resource Center opened as a result of unprecedented collaboration among area residents, faith-based organizations, advocacy groups, local businesses and community leaders who envisioned improving the lives of those in need and reducing the rate of child abuse and neglect in Dixie, Gilchrist and Levy counties.
These various representatives were brought together through the joint efforts of two existing groups with similar goals. Tri-County Community Resources, a local grassroots organization that formed in March 2013, had been developing plans to maximize community resources by promoting better communication and cooperation between existing community entities. Additionally, the Children’s Partnership Council, a community-led group facilitated by a representative from Partnership for Strong Families (PSF), was developed in July 2013 with the goal of taking a community approach to identifying and meeting the specific needs of local children and families. A partnership was quickly born between the two, and plans to open a community resource center to serve the Tri-County area were put into motion. PSF’s Resource Center Model became the guiding framework for the center, and the organization was asked to become an operating partner as PSF had demonstrated success with three other centers in a community nearby.
Plans to open the Tri-County Community Resource Center (TCCRC) began in early 2014 by utilizing this model, yet understanding the need to develop a center unique to the needs of the rural communities being served. Planning for TCCRC included reaching out to area residents through community meetings and soliciting Needs Assessments to obtain local views of community needs, existing resources and potential service gaps. Additionally, a formal Visioning Session, facilitated by national experts from Casey Family Programs and including a number of community leaders and stakeholders, took place to ensure that the design of the center best matched the needs of Tri-County citizens. Residents welcomed these opportunities to vocalize their opinions and expressed concerns related to substance abuse, lack of transportation, limited activities for youth and poor housing options, among other issues.
PSF hired a full-time Resource Center Manager for the center in November 2014 to conduct further assessments and outreach in preparation for the opening of the new center and to manage the center once daily operations began. The City of Chiefland donated space to house the resource center, and thanks to financial support from community partners including the University of Florida/Child Advocacy Center – Child Protection Team, CDS Family and Behavioral Health Services and First United Methodist Church of Chiefland, the Tri-County Community Resource Center opened its doors on March 23, 2015.