BOW VALLEY – Parent Link is officially no more.
In its place is the Family Resource Network (FRN), which requires each region to have a hub service to organize and coordinate multiple spoke services, and here in the valley, the Town of Canmore has become that hub.
“The Town of Canmore received funding for hub services (organization and coordination of services), child development (universal and targeted), caregiver capacity building (universal and targeted),” wrote Lisa Brown, manager of social community development, in an email.
“Although both the child development and caregiver capacity building has a social connection component – the Town of Canmore did not receive funding for social connection specifically (the drop-in program). As such, the Town of Canmore has approved funding for a social connection program (drop-in program in Canmore).”
The new FRN service funds organizations for services rather than a program. Brown said each region must have one hub service to organize and coordinate multiple spoke services, which are the client services themselves.
“Services must offer a full continuum of support from universal (open to everyone) to targeted (open to those who need some additional support) to intensive (those who need significant support for a longer period of time),” she wrote.
“Services must focus on caregiver capacity building, child development, and/or social connection. It is the hub's responsibility to make sure that each region includes all focus areas for the full continuum of support and for all age groups (families with children between 0-18 years of age).”
With the Town of Canmore, the new system will require five full-time employees (FTE) for various aspects that will support all of the Bow Valley.
One FTE family support worker, which Brown said will launch small group parenting programs, such as circle of security, will provide one-on-one parenting support, and will provide in-home parenting/whole family support.
It will also require a full-time caregiver capacity builder, which Brown said will create workshops and caregiving learning opportunities, such as potty time and fussy eating. In addition, the position will host small group sessions that connect parents and support joint/informal learning.
A hub community coordinator will also be required to connect all FRN services and other community services, said Brown.
“This position will work with Stoney Nakoda Family Resource Network on joint programming opportunities. This position will also connect community partners with parents – such as local dieticians, etc.,” she said.
In addition, hub administration will focus on collecting data for all FRN services and creating in-take processes for all FRN services from across the Bow Valley and a social connection worker, to be funded by the Town of Canmore, will create social connection opportunities – drop-in program/ teen connection programs, etc.
Brown said that alongside the Town of Canmore, the Town of Banff and Calgary-based Close To Home have received funding to operate FRN services.
“Banff received funding for a combination of caregiver capacity building, parent education and social connection (universal and targeted). Closer to Home for intensive child development and caregiver capacity building,” she said.
“We’re still working with the Town of Banff and Closer to Home to understand how their services will work within the Bow Valley.”
Brown said in order to support families during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the Town of Canmore is also working on moving all the services onto a virtual hub.
“We are hoping that this hub will be live next week on our Family and Community Services website,” she wrote.
“Our hope is that this hub will host webinars, programs, workshops and resource sheets. For example, we are hoping to include an online storytime.”
The Town of Canmore received a letter on Nov. 4, 2019 from Alberta Children Services indicating the funding and municipal contract for Parent Link would finish at the end of March 2020 while the province adopts a new service delivery model.
“Children’s Services has adopted the wellbeing and resiliency framework to guide our efforts to enhance prevention and early intervention services for children, youth and families,” it read.
“This letter is your formal notice that your contract ACS251162 for the Bow Valley Parent Link program and grant ACS250752 for the Bow Valley Parent Link Centre program will end on March 31, 2020 and will not be renewed. As of April 1, 2020, Children’s Services will no longer be funding these programs in its current state.”
In January, the Town of Canmore submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI) to receive funding for the new FRN model. Until the last week, little clarity as to what family services would look like in the valley were available.