The Lee Board of County Commissioners recently voted to approve the allocation of $900,000 to Family Initiative, a Lee County-based nonprofit that provides social skills programs, clinical services and community education for children and families impacted by autism spectrum disorder as well as those in the child welfare system.

The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund and was recently awarded to eligible nonprofits through Lee County and the United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades Counties. Referred to as ARPA, the American Rescue Plan Act is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus passed by Congress last year to assist governments in responding to the pandemic, addressing its economic impact and recovery.

“We cannot thank the United Way and Lee County Board of County Commissioners enough for their ongoing support and recognition of Family Initiative and the impact of our services in the community,” said David Brown, MSW, co-founder and president of Family Initiative. “We are privileged to receive these funds that will enable us to serve more children and families on our waitlist and in need of our expertise and services.”

Thanks to the funds received, Family Initiative will expand existing programs including ArtPlay, Teen Group, Social Skills Play Group and Parent Group as well as add additional, much needed programs to support children and their families living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Last year the nonprofit organization worked with over 1,200 children and their families in Southwest Florida, while the waiting list for Family Initiative’s services stood at over 100 children. The award will provide hiring opportunities within the organization to accommodate the children and families on the waiting list and assist in funding services including Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Therapy, occupational therapy and in-home services for ASD children and the rest of their household.

To learn more about the programs and services Family Initiative, Inc. offers, visit www.fi-florida.org/.

About Family Initiative

Established in 2015, Family Initiative, Inc. is a Florida-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to supporting children with autism and strengthening their families. Its team of clinicians serves children from compassionate, personalized approach through Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Occupational Therapy (OT) services, and offers autism play groups, teen meetings, parent education, community conversations and more. In addition, the organization provides child welfare caregiver training and support through its Family Impact Program. Visit fi-florida.org or find Family Initiative on Facebook and Instagram at @FamilyInitiative and on Twitter at @FI_Inc.