The American Indian Family Center was initially started as an idea in 1994 under the umbrealla of the Ramsey County Children's Initiative. In 1995, a location was identified and the doors opened to families for services in 1997. Articles of Incorporation and temporary federal status as a 501(c)3 non profit organization was achieved in 1997 with permanent status in 2001. The Family Center is located on the Eastside of St Paul and is easily accessible to the high population of American Indians residing on the St Paul's eastside. The location is also on a major bus route 64.
In its first years, the AIFC recieved funding through the Children's Initiative. The AIFC is now a recipient of multiple grants through private and public souces.
The AIFC encourages families to participate in our activities and services and in doing so can become a member of our Family Center. Each year these member families have grown.
The AIFC is governed by a 9 member Board of Directors. The Board of Directors as well as the Family Center staff are reflective of culturally grounded individuals from the American Indian and St Paul communities. The Family Center is lead by the Executive Director (Kevin Martineau) who is supported by the Accountant, Assistant/ Data Entry Specialist, and the Receptionist. The work is coordinated by the three Directors -Development & Marketing (Janice LaFloe), Employment Services (Alicia Smith), and Family & Youth Services (Maria McCoy). Program services are delivered through the staff. The staff consists of the Clinical Director, two full time Therapists, one part time Therapy Intern, a part time mental health case manager, one part time Program Coordinator, two Case Managers, three Employment Counselors, one Employment Training Coordinator, one Employment Program Aid/Specialist, one Youth Worker, and one Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor. The Family Center staff is from the Lakota, Dakota, Ojibwe, Yupik, and Causasian communities and offer a wealth of education credentials, cultural knowledge, customs and values to the community in which they work.
The American Indian Family Center is also very pleased to host a Vista Volunteer this year as part of our staff.
In all programming, the AIFC views each program participant holistically, in the philosophy of the medicine wheel, which teaches that the four parts of each human being - physical, sprititual, emotional and intellectual are equally important. Thus interventions for any one area must include an assessment of the other areas. All AIFC programming focuses on bringing traditional values to bear on the challenges facing our families today. We are finding success in connecting with these values to fulfill our mission of healthier families. With all of our programming, the AIFC promotes building relationships and seeks genuine participation from the community. The AIFC pulls together partner agencies and community resources that serve the American Indian community so that access to services is increased. In most of our programs and services, we rely on some or all of the American Indian serving agencies in St Paul. Many of these partners are able to provide access to community members, resources to supplement our program activities, and support to our parents and staff as they work with the community.
Over the years, the growth experienced by the AIFC has provided an opportunity to better understand the varying needs of our community. The services provided by the AIFC are now structured under two program areas, Family Support Services and Employment Support Services. The Family Support Services include mental health services, prevention and recovery services, prevention and intervention of child neglect and abuse, parenting support and youth work. The Employment Support services include one on one employment counseling, development of job readiness skills and job club support.