Building Strong Families


Today’s diverse families form the foundation of strong Wisconsin Communities.  Family Living Programs provides statewide leadership to promote education, resources, and partnerships that create an environment where families and their communities can thrive.

Parenting & Family Resources

Parenting Information When YOU Need It

University of Wisconsin-Extension provides various resources available for you to explore, including online newsletters, communities, publications, podcasts, and links to reliable parenting advice for everyone preparing to parent or currently parenting – from birth all the way through the teenage years.  Get the latest information on child development, nutrition, health, safety, child care, changes in family life, and much more.

From UWEX/Parenting – “Why You Can Trust Our Advice:

  • We are professors and staff of a great public university (the University of Wisconsin).  We teach college courses on child development, parenting, and human nutrition.
  • Our knowledge is based on research findings, which tell us what usually works for most parents.  Our advice is not based on any philosophy about how the world ought to work.  We just tell you what works most of the time, according to research on families like yours.
  • We aren’t trying to sell you anything, and our web site makes no money for us.  We are public employees.”

Visit to explore the various resources available to you and to sign up for digital newsletters.  Most are available in Spanish, and once you subscribe you will receive the newsletters via your email.  A variety of newsletters are available, including:

 Online Parenting Community Group

You can also find a more interactive experience by joining Parenthetical, a blog, website, and social network for parents of tweens and teens.  Kids in the “in between” years provide parents and caring adults with a unique set of challenges and opportunities.  We all have those conversations with other parents and professionals that leave us wondering, “what do other parents do?”  How do they feel about certain situations: money, chores, responsibility, bullies, attitude, technology..the list is really endless!  Find us on Facebook, and join our new online group, Conversations that Matter (Winnebago County Parenthetical) and share your stories, insights, and questions.  It’s free and open to everyone!

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Many grandparents or relatives who are raising their grandchildren are turning to each other to find the comfort and help they need.

The Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Network of Winnebago County focuses on the roles grandparents/relatives play and provides an opportunity to meet others who share similar experiences, knowledge, strengths, and hopes.  The support group provides a place to belong and a network of support.

Meetings are held the second Thursday of the month at:
J.P. Coughlin Center
625 E. County Road Y
Oshkosh, WI  54901

Download a copy of the 2016-2017 Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Brochure

The Real Happy Hour

The Real Happy Hour is about families spending quality time together – whether it’s eating dinner together, playing outside together, going for a bike ride, or walking the dog.  Quality, family time can create positive outcomes for children and teens, foster stronger families, and build a healthier community.  The Real Happy Hour reminds us that family time matters.

The Real Happy Hour is a local, community-wide campaign in Marathon, Winnebago, Calumet, and Outagamie counties that focuses on the importance that family mealtime and family playtime has for children and teens.  As children age, it is important to spend quality time with them, building trust and keeping the lines of communication open so that if at any point they begin to feel increased pressure to experiment with smoking, drinking, and using drugs they can feel comfortable talking to parents about it.  Family dinners provide the perfect opportunity when children and teens can talk to their parents and parents can listen and learn.

More information and resources are available here: What is your REAL Happy Hour?

Block Party Program

block-party-imageResearchers have found that children develop a variety of skills through block play, including: Math, Physics, Early Engineering, Creativity, Social Skills, Physical Skills, and More!  Block Parties are scheduled free-play time with a variety of blocks for families with children ages 0 – 10 years.  View/download more information about Block Parties here.

If you would like to learn more or schedule a block party, please call Mandi Dornfeld (Winnebago County UW-Extension) at 920-232-1970 or email

Other Parenting Resources

Community Resource Guide

Family Matters


Adult Children Aging Parents LogoAdult Children Aging Parents

Even after children grow up, families keep right on changing!  But old family patterns and decisions don’t always fit changing needs.

Personal decisions about health care, housing, legal issues, and financial matters can be hard to think about and even harder to discuss with family members.  You need accurate information to make wise decisions.  You also need some communication tools.

By exploring the issues and questions included in this program, you and your family members can strengthen your understanding of change.  You also can increase your skills for coping with change together.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers

Caring for others is very rewarding, but it can also be very stressful.  It is therefore very important to learn how to take care of YOU while caring for another.  The Powerful Tools for Caregivers program is an evidence-based education program that offers a unique combination of elements to make a positive difference in your life by helping you to:

  • Reduce stress
  • Improve self-confidence
  • Balance your life
  • Better communicate your feelings
  • Increase ability to make tough decisions
  • Locate helpful resources
  • Take care of YOU

For more information about the Powerful Tools for Caregivers program, download a copy of the 2016 Powerful Tools Brochure or the 2016 Powerful Tools Flyer


We often hear that people are resilient.  They manage to not only get through tough times but end up stronger than they were before their troubles began.  While it may sound a little trite, research actually has found that individuals and families can indeed be resilient.  When confronting stressful challenges, many do have the capacity to rebound and grow in a way to be better able to meet future challenges.

Family Therapist Froma Walsh identified nine ways to build resiliency.  She observed that families who were able to thrive despite the adversity they faced had common strengths.  They found ways to effectively deal with their stressful situations.  Walsh offers these nine keys to resilience:

  • Make meaning of crisis and challenge
  • Value transcendence and spirituality
  • Be flexible
  • Be connected to others
  • Find support through social and economic resources
  • Share clear, consistent messages
  • Openly express emotions
  • Use collaborative problem solving

Learn more about resilience here.

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