University of Pittsburgh
May 4, 1998



Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH, May 5 -- Where can a teenaged mother turn for advice? How can one get assistance with a landlord dispute? Or help in dealing with the stress of poverty?

Many Allegheny County residents turn to any one of 23 Family Support Centers, whose staff members are trained by Pitt's Office of Child Development. Those centers, and the concept behind them, are the focus of the fifth annual Family Support Conference on Wednesday, May 27 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sheraton Station Square.

The theme of this year's event is "Linking Family Support and Economic Development," which stresses the shared goal of the family support movement and community economic development organizations to enhance the self-sufficiency of local communities and their residents.

That topic will be addressed by a panel of three speakers: Ralph Smith, vice-president of the Annie E. Casey Foundation; Rebecca Stone, researcher for the University of Chicago's Chapin Hall Center for Children; and Rev. R. Joaquin Willis, Board Chairman of the Amistad Harvest Corporation. The panel will begin its remarks at 9:45 a.m. In two "Speak-Out Sessions," parents who have used the centers will share their success stories. Key local and state policy makers will join community and corporate leaders for a Policy Luncheon. Then throughout the afternoon, conference participants may attend any of 30 various workshops, on topics ranging from child nutrition to welfare reform.

The event is designed for parents, community leaders, social service agencies and child care workers, to help them expand the vision of family support, which encourages families to build on their own strengths, using community resources. As the families learn how to help themselves, they contribute to the community, improving the quality of life for themselves and others.

Other major conference sponsors include the Allegheny County Board of Commissioners, the City of Pittsburgh, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The conference registration fee is $35.00. Completed registration forms may be faxed to (412) 624-6323. For additional information, please contact Tracy Soska at (412) 624-3711.