Even though the Livingston Area Council Against Spouse Abuse (LACASA) and the Family Resource Center (FRC) merged into one nonprofit organization in December, it wasn't until last week that the FRC finally relocated its offices and staff into the LACASA building on West Grand River in Howell.
Operating under the LACASA name, the nonprofit groups will combine staff knowledge and talents to provide critical prevention and education programs in the Brighton area.
The collaboration is aimed at reducing child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault by providing programs that educate child caregivers, build parenting skills and strengthen family relationships.
Polly Mallory, former executive director of the FRC, has been named as LACASA’s director of early childhood development. Mallory said the two agencies had discussed the merger for about a year.
"We felt that it would strengthen both agencies to work together," Mallory said. "It meant that we could share expenses, we could share fundraising efforts, we could share board development, we could share staff, we could share space — there were just so many benefits. We both did child abuse, neglect and prevention, and LACASA did domestic violence. By joining, all those services in the county will be under one roof.
"We really do believe the merger is a form of modernization, and it is the most contemporary way to deal with how the economics of nonprofits are changing," she said. "Instead of getting weaker, which is the national consequence of funding cuts, we believe that this will make both agencies stronger."
The FRC moved all of its staff and services into the LACASA building with one exception: the Career Boutique, which provided free professional clothing to women. Instead, the FRC is collaborating with Love Inc. to take on the Career Boutique.
The Child Abuse Prevention Council (CAP), which was affiliated with the FRC, will now operate as a program within LACASA. It will offer a wide spectrum of classes and workshops on early childhood development, healthy parenting and child abuse prevention.
Bobette Schrandt, president and CEO of LACASA, said in a press release that the organization is eager to broaden its prevention and education programs.
“This is an exciting era in LACASA’s history,” Schrandt said. “We know that family patterns of abuse and neglect can be changed by providing key education and prevention programs.”