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Northwest Family Services’ Lasting Relationship was a federally funded project under Administration for Children and Families that took place over nine years. This project served the greater Portland metropolitan community. In addition to the work of Northwest Family Services, our partnerships with Multnomah County Health Department and Catholic Charities allowed us to serve almost 60,000 people with evidence-based programs. Services included helping high school students and singles understand the dynamics of a healthy relationship and how to avoid dangerous and damaging relationships. Couples learned parenting skills, money management strategies, and effective ways to strengthen their relationships. Employment services were also included as economic mobility is key of all child well-being and family stability. The evaluations that we received over the course of 9 years consistently showed that over 95% of individuals indicated improvement. NWFS continues to offer job readiness support in Clackamas County. We are grateful that we had the opportunity to serve. Check our website for other services.


People Served from October 2006 through September 2015

Education in high school 34,430 individuals
Education for Pregnant/Parenting 851 individuals
Employment Services and Parent Education 2,217 individuals
Education for Singles 9,925 individuals
Education for Couples 11,657 individuals
Coaching for Distressed Couples 618 individuals
Total Served 58,847 individuals


Numbers tell one story, but stories show the impact this program made in people’s lives. There are 60,000 stories, but this story illustrates how these programs changed lives:

I grew up under and in generational addiction. As a child I believed I wasn’t important and had no value and as I became an adult I continued the path I knew and thought was normal. I was an addict. I was a prostitute and caught up in trafficking. I was homeless. And I was a bad mom. Even though my kids were the most important thing to me, my addiction made my want a need, and my need became my “normal.”

A year ago I got my chance for a “do-over.” I came into a shelter and began to heal. Three days in, child services found me, prepared to take my 4 kids away. Being in the shelter required me to take classes, get treatment, begin to get stable, and kept my family with me. This was my saving grace. The parenting classes offered by Northwest Family Services has helped to transform not just myself as a mom, but my family. I learned about brain development and the effect of trauma, not just my own, but what was happening in the lives of my kids. Instead of feeling paralyzed by what I had done to my children, I began to make changes in myself as a parent, which began to change each of us. The more I could practice healthy communication, the more my kids could do the same. Three of my kids are under the age of 5, and all of us are able to express our feelings and needs with words like, “When you do _____, I feel ____. Please _____.” We no longer live in raging chaos. We are relearning what it means to be a family, and what “normal” really is.

My oldest and I have had a lot of healing to do together, having a longer amount of time living with my poor actions as a mom. She is the strongest young lady I know and seeing her believe and know herself differently than I did growing up gives me so much joy. She knows she has value, and she knows that her path doesn’t have to be the same as the women in our family before her. She has seen the strength it takes and creates when you “do things differently.” She will often comment, “You had parenting class today, didn’t you?” The impact of these classes reaches far beyond the participants alone, it changes families. It changes futures.


Healthy Marriage Initiative Conference 2014 Handout