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Prof. Ann Moylan Leads New Family Services Partnership

Community engagement has long been a hallmark of Sacramento State, and among the long-standing efforts have been service learning courses in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences whereby students gain valuable experience via placements in non-profit agencies providing family support services.

This fall, Dr. Ann Moylan, a professor in Family Studies and Human Development, is leading a new partnership between her department and Delta Prevention, a non-profit agency that provides early intervention and support to families who are in high-stress situations related to family management, behavior, and a need for additional life skills. Moylan is working on the project with Troy Nichols, a lecturer, and Angela Da Re, president and CEO of Delta Prevention.

Under the partnership, about 15 of the students enrolled in the department’s Family Support Services senior-year service learning course are getting real-world experience in delivering services to parents and children in Delta Prevention’s “Strengthening Families Program.”

The class includes a two-day training component where students develop skills as a “family coach” to help high-stress families learn life skills. By placing all the students in the course in one agency, the pilot is designed to boost the impact of the class by increasing the capacity of the agency to deliver services, said Moylan, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wake Forest University, a master’s degree in Child Development and Family Relations from Purdue University, and a doctorate degree in Child and Family Development from The University of Georgia.

“This pilot program allows us to take our students from research and theory to actual, hands-on practice of facilitating class-room training and providing services to the families,” Moylan said. “And we wanted to look at how to increase the impact of the students coming out of that senior-level course by placing them at the same agency.”

As a result, Delta Prevention is operating programs in four sites simultaneously and serving about 25 families, Da Re said.

“We really wanted all the students to have the opportunity to teach, to facilitate and get experience with both parents and children,” Da Re said. “The more students we have, the more reach and impact we can have.”

Moylan emphasized that the current partnership with Delta Prevention allows students to see the positive effects of early intervention with families and to help them connect in healthy dialogue and interactions.

“We really need to prepare our students to work on family support services and early intervention,” said Moylan, who currently is serving as Interim Director of Sacramento State’s Community Engagement Center. “The earlier you intervene, the more effective the services will be.”

Da Re said the impact is already happening. She recounted recent comments by the father of a teen-age daughter in a family receiving services in the program: “The dad told me, ‘My daughter told me she loves me. I hadn’t heard that in years.’

“Families want answers that they can work together,” Da Re added. “If we succeed, we get less drug and alcohol abuse, less violence, less teen pregnancy, and less stress. We couldn’t have the reach with families without the Sac State students.”

-Public Affairs and Advocacy

Ann Moylan

Professor Ann Moylan,
Department of Family and Consumer Sciences