The FDNY/Columbia University Family Assessment and Guidance Program, directed by CUSSW Associate Professor Grace Christ, recently received a $235,000 September 11 recovery grant from the The American Red Cross Liberty Disaster Relief Fund.

The grant will be used to fund and expand ongoing home-based counseling and evaluations for widows and children of firefighters killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and to expand the Family Program’s services to include needs assessments for maternal grandparents, who have been found to be critical care providers for most families. The grant will also support a service utilization and needs assessment survey of nearly 300 bereaved FDNY widows.

Dr. Christ and a team of Columbia University School of Social Work faculty and consultants developed the Family Program in 2002, in collaboration with the Counseling Services Unit of the Fire Department, City of New York (FDNY-CSU). Collaborative outreach recruited bereaved families requiring more intense individual work. The FDNY-CSU continues to refer families to the program.

The Family Program also collaborates with the FDNY-CSU on educational projects, such as parent training for widows, a bi-monthly newsletter, activities for children, and family workshops. The Family Program hopes to develop information essential for intermediate and long-term disaster response planning.

For more information about The FDNY/Columbia University Family Assessment and Guidance Program, please contact the Program Coordinator, Rosa Cho, at (212)851-2402 or

July, 2005

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