We work in collaboration with Children’s Services, families, and communities to determine what support children and parents need for a strong and healthy family. Our goal is that children and family members are safe, have positive relationships with loved ones, and are given a voice in decisions affecting their future. All referrals for these programs come through Edmonton Region Child and Family Services, North Central and East Neighbourhood Centres.
If a child is at risk of going into government care, The Family Centre strongly supports keeping children with their immediate family, when it is safe to do so. If that is not possible, we make every effort to ensure they are placed with a relative or someone in their community and/or have regular and ongoing access to the people they love.
We believe keeping children in their community and schools is critical for reducing the trauma and ensuring children maintain relationships with significant people in their lives such as friends, teachers, neighbours, and kin. We also help families connect to community resources.
We are relentlessly supporting children, youth, and families to achieve positive relational, cultural, physical, and legal connections. By having a strong focus on these four areas of connection, we hope to support long-term and lasting successful outcomes.
FAMILY SUPPORT SERVICES
Family connectors (FC) support a family throughout their involvement with Children’s Services. Because each family is different, there is no predetermined program or path that families must follow. The service is flexible, using many different services to meet a family’s specific needs and long-term goals.
Family capacity builders (FCB) help children live with or maintain positive relationships with their parents, family members, and communities. Services include supporting family time for children in government care and providing in-home support to encourage attachment through teaching and modeling.
Family engagement facilitators encourage key members in a child’s life to communicate openly with one another to determine the best plan forward when a child has been or is at risk of being placed in government care. This may result in determining where a child should live, creating a support system for a family experiencing challenges, and strengthening relationships among family members.
Family engagement services allow families to connect through family searches, circles, and family group conferences.
FAMILY REUNIFICATION HOMES
If a child comes into government care or parents require additional supports to parent, a reunification home is a safe place to stay while the parents are developing positive parenting and safety skills. Parents are encouraged to live in the home with their children, where they receive 24/7 support from our staff.
Our youth connectors support youth, who have status with Children’s Services, may not have a permanent residence, and may be engaged in high-risk activity. Youth connectors help youth to re-connect with family and strengthen their circle of support. We aim to support the youth's long-term goals and to increase their relational, cultural, physical, and legal connections.
YOUTH REUNIFICATION HOMES
The focus of youth reunification is on children between the ages of 13 and 17 who are in government care. This is sometimes extended beyond 17 since young adults are not always developmentally prepared or ready to live within a family unit.
The service focuses on youth and young adults who have experienced trauma and whose trauma prevents family-based living in the interim. The goal of the service is the hope of reunification with family, extended family, or adopted or private guardianship. The youth have not typically experienced those outcomes in the traditional system because of attachment deficits.
We believe that children in government care fare best when cared for by their family, whether it be immediate family, extended family, or individuals who have played a meaningful role in their lives. The supportive and loving atmosphere of a kinship home helps them build healthy self-esteem; meet their social, emotional, and physical needs; and see positive role models for values and behaviours.
Anytime a child is brought into government care, the goal of kinship care is to return the child to their birth parents as soon as possible. Kinship families often need help to address underlying issues that created the situation in the first place. Often much healing and repairing of relationships needs to occur, and can occur during the kinship placement. A kinship support worker is assigned to the family if they need additional help due to family dynamics. The kinship support worker can provide more intimate and intense support for the family.