Children’s programs reborn

Susan Thompson
South Peace News

Services and supports for families across the Peace are going to be provided by two larger regional networks after a reorganization of family and parent supports.

The Alberta government announced in late 2019 that the existing Parent Links would be financed and operated differently, switching to a Family Resource Network [FRN] model. All Parent Links were asked to submit expressions of interest for funding.

Peace River’s former Parent Link was informed on April 8 that their expression of interest was successful, and the High Prairie & District Children’s Resource Council announced on April 16 their application was successful.

Both organizations will now offer “hub” and “spoke” services to several communities.

The new Peace Region Family Resource Network will still be based out of the recently completed Baytex Energy Centre. It will also still be managed by the Town of Peace River, but it will now function as a hub for services for a much broader area, including the Village of Berwyn, Birch Hills County, County of Fairview No. 136, Town of Grimshaw, Village of Hines Creek, Little Buffalo, Town of Manning, Village of Nampa, County of Northern Lights, Northern Sunrise County, and M.D. of Peace No. 135.

“We are so excited to be able to publicize the new program and services!” says Tanya Bell of Peace River community services.

Bell says six existing Peace Parent Link staff members will be continuing to deliver the programs and services of the new Family Resource Network, which means the Peace Region FRN is already operational.

Immediate services will include parent education, supportive listening, and tips and ideas for at home healthy activities as most families self- isolate.

“In addition, our new Home Visitation program will be offered through virtual meetings/phone calls or whatever means that will work for families,” Bell says.

“During this challenging time for families, we encourage caregivers/parents to reach out and connect with us as we can assist in your parenting journey.”

The High Prairie CRC will operate as a hub under the new FRN model for communities including Slave Lake, High Prairie, Grouard, McLennan, East Prairie Metis Settlement, and Peavine Metis Settlement.

The CRC will work with Family and Community and Support Services and municipalities including the County of Big Lakes [excluding Swan Hills], M.D. of Smoky River, M.D. of Lesser Slave River and M.D. of Opportunity “to provide a comprehensive continuum of service for children, youth and caregivers in our region.”

Lindsay Davies, CAO of HP CRC says, “We are excited and grateful and eager to jump into this next phase.”

The Stronger Together home visitation services for families of children ages 0-6 years will help promote positive parent-child relationships, improve parenting knowledge and skills, foster healthy child development, help families access the network of formal and informal services and supports available in their own communities, promote family wellness and help build strong communities.

Meanwhile, Brighter Futures parent education services will provide universal and targeted group services for parents and caregivers of children and youth ages 0-18 years who are interested in increasing their skills, knowledge and understanding of positive parenting, family life skills, healthy relationships and child development and well-being.

“Some services are now available; however, due to the pandemic we are not offering groups, home visitation and our facility is mostly closed to the public,” Davies says.

The programs will also be moving to online delivery, but Davies says many families do not have reliable Internet and so streaming and phone calls will be difficult.

HP CRC will be hiring staff in several communities to help deliver programs, and will have career opportunities listed on their website.

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