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


Identify Your Partners

Developing your FAC plan requires multi-disciplinary coordination and engagement from both public and private sector organizations. Historically, the medical examiner/coroner (ME/C) has been assumed to be the lead agency for FAC operations. While the ME/C needs to be involved in FAC planning and operations, they may not always be appropriately staffed or resourced to serve as the lead agency during the planning phases, or during a response.

Each community will need to identify the appropriate lead agency that works best for them based on the mission of the FAC defined for your community, and the resources available to the organizations involved. This may be a local health department, ME/C Office, human services agency, local emergency management department, or other community partner. 

What is most important is that the lead agency has a clearly defined role during the planning phases, as well as during the response and that they can bring together and facilitate coordination among multiple partners.

Regardless of who your community identifies as the lead agency, here are potential partners your team should consider involving in FAC planning:

  • Local or state health jurisdiction
  • Local or state medical examiner/coroner
  • Emergency Management
  • Law enforcement (includes FBI)
  • Public and private mental health providers
  • Hospitals
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Spiritual care providers
  • Crime victim advocates
  • Local faith and cultural leaders
  • American Red Cross
  • Salvation Army
  • Other voluntary agencies
  • Information Technology provider (e.g., city, county IT support)
  • Local general services administration
  • Private sector partners (e.g., to provide, facility, IT, or call center support)
  • Local industries that may be doing FAC planning such as airlines, cruise lines, or rail service providers
  • Local military
  • National Transportation Safety Board

As the lead agency for ESF #8 planning and response, Public Health – Seattle & King County serves as the Family Assistance Center lead for King County, WA.