Last week’s Assets Learning Conference, organized by CFED, featured a number of sessions about integrated service delivery, embedding financial empowerment into social services, and streamlining access to services and benefits. In an era of increased need and serious state budget cuts, integrating services allows more people to access a comprehensive set of tools and programs, while simultaneously increasing the efficiency of service providers.
Financial Opportunity Centers (FOCs) are an example of one particular model of integrated services delivery that is promoting asset building in communities across the country. FOCs combine financial coaching and education, employment services and access to public benefits, with the goal of increasing clients’ long-term financial stability. Based on a model developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the FOC network launched in 2005 and currently includes sixty-five centers in twenty-five cities.