Cass County Board: Family centers have supported community for 2 decades

WALKER--Pillager, Pine River-Backus and Northland Remer Family Centers provide support services to families to help families meet ongoing needs and find resources for emergencies.

WALKER-Pillager, Pine River-Backus and Northland Remer Family Centers provide support services to families to help families meet ongoing needs and find resources for emergencies.

In their annual reports to the county board, the family centers outlined some of the services they offer and describe ways they help support their communities. Family centers try to help parents become less stressed and children to become happier and better at learning.

The centers have operated for about 20 years.

Cass County provides $100,000, divided about evenly among the three centers, to support their programs, but a majority share of their income comes from program fees, grants and donations.

The county Health, Human and Veterans Services offers many of their services at the family centers to bring them closer to the local community than the main county office at Walker.


Each center offers the programs they believe best address their community's needs. They make available the use of their facsimile machine, telephone and copy machines to those who may not have these services at home. Each center has a meeting room.

Northland also offers computer use. Pillager has a community bulletin board.

All three have a home visiting program for first time mothers where moms get counseling in their own home from prenatal through their child's third year on what to expect as their child develops. If they need supplies to care for their child or a medical referral for their child, the home visitor can help.

Pillager and Pine River food shelves are located at their family centers.

Pillager's is open noon-5 p.m. every Thursday and by appointment during the week. They served 227 unduplicated adults and 114 unduplicated children in 2015. The monthly average was 105 adults and 41 children.

Pillager also served 81 families age 65 and older under a seniors nutrition program that offers one food box per month. Pine River served 97 senior families in that program.

Pine River food shelf is open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays and the second Tuesday each month from 3:30 to 6 p.m. They provided 77,555 pounds of food during 2015

to an average of 461 people monthly. Over one-third were children.


Pillager's center enrolled 84 preschoolers in its state licensed day care in 2015.

Another 137 children in kindergarten through fifth grade participated in its child care center before and after school and on non-school days. Those children can get homework help, use a computer lab and media center or just play.

Pine River offers preschool two hours every Wednesday from June through August for 3- to 5-year-olds. Twelve attended in 2015.

Northland Remer's preschool runs during the school year. That family center sponsored three family fun nights at the school in 2015. An average of 31 families attended.

The family centers have parent education classes where parents can learn how to help their children successfully learn better and become happier and more respectful of others.

They can make referrals during emergencies to help people find resources for gas vouchers, car and home repairs, diapers, prescriptions or a hotel stay. They offer MNsure navigators to help sign up for insurance.

Pine River-Backus and Northland Remer each sent eight children to summer camp in 2015.

The family center websites are: Pillager:; Pine River:; NORTHLAND Remer: .

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