Frequently Asked Questions

How did the Children’s Advisory Commission begin?

A small group of individuals met in 1994 to discuss a method of pulling together schools, human services, and other community representatives. This group of people met with the Indiana County Commissioners to ask for their support in developing this organization. The Commissioners invited representatives from all schools and major human service funders to a meeting at the Courthouse in July of the same year. After agreeing to join together, a committee was formed to develop the structure, and the Commissioners appointed members to the Children’s Advisory Commission (CAC) in December.

The first task of the CAC was to write a proposal for funding through the PA Department of Public Welfare’s Family Services System Reform (FSSR). The first grant was a planning grant, and included monies for mini-grants.  The members of the CAC decided to develop a Family Center in Indiana County, and visited Family Centers in neighboring counties for ideas.

By 1996, bylaws were written for the twenty-five-member commission.  The first Stand for Children event was held and the commission received a third grant through FSSR, which was used to fund the Family Center and home visitation programs.

The Family Center opened in Regency Mall in the fall of 1997.  Members of the CAC provided oversight for the Family Center and for the Home Visitation Program.  Members also held community meetings, attended Together We Can trainings, and sponsored the second Stand for Children event.

In 2001, the Bylaws were revised to expand the CAC to  41 members.  The Commission held a retreat in February of that year where it was decided that the Commission could function more efficiently through some streamlining.  As a result, the CAC decided to reorganize its structure, its mission, its purposes, and its goals.  The CAC also simplified its standing committees and its procedures for forming ad hoc committees and work groups.

In June of 2001, the Family Center closed.  However, ARIN Intermediate Unit 28 absorbed the Home Visitation Program.  An application to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency was approved for an America’s Promise grant, to fund the position of a Coordinator and to complete a comprehensive, countywide needs assessment. (Indiana County Speaks Up, 2002.) 

How is the CAC funded?

The CAC  raises money through  various  "selling opportunities".  In the past there have been ceramic pins,  Sheetz MTO's, coupon bookds, and flower sales. The latest  sale is candy bars.  The CAC membership is also asked for an annual voluntary membership donation. Recently, we have added a fee structure to  the Annual Family Fun Fest event by charging groups/agencies who participate a table fee.

The event planning committees also seeks monetary donations  for the expenses of the events.

Additionally, the CAC  has been the recipient of  memorial contributions made by  Indiana County residents in the memory of lost loved ones.

Who administers the CAC funds?

The fundraising account is held by Indiana County Government and administered by the Indiana County Department of Human Services.

How does the CAC spend these funds?  

With the approval of the CAC Executive Committee, funds are spent in various ways including:

  • Expenses for family events:  Family Fun Fest, Family Nature Palooza, and Day of Play

  • Occasional advertising in the newspaper or on the radio (non-cac event related such as sponsoring a song in the Gazette's holiday songbook , a CAC page in the Mardi Gras program for EBGC, a CAC page in Renda Broadcasting's Summer Event Guide)

  •  Cost or partial cost of meals at CAC lunch or breakfast meetings - often the members attending are asked to pay a portion of the cost. The breakfast meeting  in June 2015 is an example. Members were asked to pay $7 at the door, and the CAC  picked up the rest)

  • Stipends, mileage and/or cost of meals for guest speakers at CAC special meetings occasional office supplies (most supplies and use of office equipment is an in-kind contribution from the Department of Human Services and the CAC Coordinator's home office)

  • Books for the PA One Book Every Young Child voluntary reading project.  Ten "big" books are purchased each year for the readers to use.  At the end of the project the books are donated to child care/early learning programs

How is the CAC Coordinator paid?

Currently, the CAC Coordinator is paid through the Human Services Development Fund (HSDF) grant administered by the Indiana County Department of Human Services. The coordinator position is a full time (35 hours per week) county position. Other past grant  funds - America's Promise, Family Services System Reform,(FSSR), Local E ducation and Resource Network (LEARN)- were utilized in the past when they were available.  Children & Youth Services administered the FSSR grant. When the LEARN grant was discontinued, Evergreen Boys & Girls Clubs of Indiana County picked up the coordinator's  salary for one year before HSDF picked it up again.