Creating and Operating a Family Assistance Center - A Toolkit for Public Health


Establish Your Planning Principles

As you begin your planning process, it is helpful to keep in mind a core set of principles that should guide your work. Throughout the planning process, there may be differing perspectives among agencies or your planning team about the purpose, scope, and priorities of the FAC. Establishing your principles at the beginning will help guide your process and keep your planning focused on the priorities you have established. 

Here are examples from Public Health – Seattle & King County:

  • Our goal is to serve and support families in their time of need. When in doubt, consider what would best meet their needs and plan for that.
  • Our mission is not to “fix” the situation for families, but to create systems that support families with information and assistance, help bring a sense of order during times of chaos, and facilitate the response functions of healthcare agencies and the Medical Examiner Office.
  • Family assistance services support the continuum of emergency response and support the surviving family and friends of both the injured and the deceased.
  • Families will all grieve and process information on different timelines. There will not be a, “one-size-fits-all” solution for everyone.
  • We cannot anticipate every need or issue that may arise. Through our planning we will establish relationships and build systems that will help us address issues as they come up.
  • These are highly-sensitive, emotionally-strenuous situations, and not everyone is suited to work in these environments. Support for responders and workers will be as important as the support offered to family members.
  • Flexibility will be the key to our success.