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Kids First Family Centre given new mandate

Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre is now the hub in southwestern Alberta for the new Family Resource Network.

Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre is the hub of a new Family Resource Network in southwestern Alberta.

The centre’s position is the result of a new direction by the province to support children and families.

“The main focus is to try and work with families and youth who are at high risk,” Kids First executive director Cynthia Chisholm said.

Family Resource Networks at the end of March took the place of Parent Link Centres on a three-year contract.

While the work of the Parent Link Centres was effective and successful, the province determined that services were not reaching those most at risk.

“Typically we weren’t seeing the people who really needed help and support,” Chisholm said.

Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre is now the hub of a region that extends to Granum in the north and west to include Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass.

“We are the overarching agency for the whole network,” Chisholm said.

Kids First will process intakes, make referrals and offer programs and services. The Pincher Creek Family Centre and the South Region Parents As Teachers home visitation program will provide services.

The Family Resource Network will support families and youth up to 18 years of age through supports, services, referrals and programs.

Kids First will work with Alberta Children’s Services to identify youth and families that need support.

Kids First’s areas of focus are now:

In-home visitation: offering care-giver support, parent education, child development information and resource information through customized personal home, phone and/or virtual visits for families with children prenatally through age six.

Care-giver education: to promote healthy parent-child relationships by encouraging positive parenting practices, knowledge acquisition and skill building.

Youth support: promote growth and development and actively engage youth through activities that strengthen, build and support the master of skills in all developmental domains. The youth spoke will support youth who identify as LGBTQ2S.

Indigenous outreach: will focus on the well-being of Indigenous children, youth and families by valuing and honoring the cultural experience, traditions and knowledge.

Chisholm said there will be many changes at the family centre as some programs do not meet the province’s new mandate.

It is possible other community groups will be enlisted to take over some of Kids First’s traditional programming.

“We’re building it as we go,” Chisholm said. “We really are.”

For more information contact Cynthia Chisholm at 587-787-1071 or coord@fmkidsfirst.com.

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