Client Profile - Family Support Services

Cheryl Smith of Family Support Services, with 3 children. RINA client profile.

Cheryl Smith, Executive Director for Family Support Services of the Bay Area, lived and worked in Bayview-Hunters Point, San Francisco for many years which included Director of Community Affairs at Lennar Corporation and the Executive Director for the Bayview-Hunters Point YMCA. Today, her experience along with her passion has provided the background needed to head Family Support Services in Oakland.

Since 1989, Family Support Services specializes in working with low-income families in Alameda, San Francisco, and Contra Costa counties who face serious challenges in caring for their children, including: families in which grandparents or other relatives have had to step in to care for children; families with children who have mental and physical disabilities; and caregivers raising children who are substance exposed or medically fragile. They also work with families whose children are at risk of abuse by helping adults and caregivers improve their parenting skills and raise children in a secure and nurturing environment. FSS offers five core programs: Respite & Child Care, Family Preservation, Kinship Support Services, Kinship Youth and OreMi Mentoring. Clients are some of the most underserved communities with over 83% of the families being of color, 62% are headed by a single adult and over 60% live in poverty.

Cheryl has a big job and is proud of her dedicated staff, board of directors, generous donors, funding partners, mentors and caregivers that provide so much time and resources to assist families in managing life’s traumas and tragedies. She has created an equitable environment where everyone feels respected and valued. FSS has an overall organizational budget of $5.1 million, with offices in both San Francisco and Oakland, a team of 50 full-time staff and more than 75 hourly respite/child care providers. FFS serves more than 2,000 Bay Area children each year. FSS’s programs and impact has led to being selected as one of six model programs in the United States highlighted in the Office of the Inspector General’s Report on Model Respite Care Services. Additionally client assessments show that their programs change the lives of families is many ways: children perform better at school; children remain with their families and don’t have to go into traditional foster care; parenting skills improve, stress is decreased for caregivers and family relationships become stronger.

Cheryl’s goal is for her clients to live their best lives and that the services FSS provides help families create environments where children are healthy and reach their potential. If you would like to hear about FSS’s success stories, apply for a board position or find out how you can assist them, please visit their website at

Cheryl Smith, Family Support Services of the Bay Area

After being with our prior auditors for 18 years, we were happy that the transition to RINA went very smoothly - we found Dana and Howard great to work with.” They were very professional and explained the audit process to our board. RINA was good at not disturbing our daily work and hit all the proposed timelines.

Cheryl Smith, Executive Director
Family Support Services of the Bay Area

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