Our agency has now opened a home for children and families to visit and learn parenting skills in a safe and secure setting. It can be booked/utilized by outside agencies.
The Family Learning Center faces many challenges as it moves forward. The value of supervised visits is currently under recognized and not well understood or practiced. Program standards and policies and procedures are limited and value research is lacking. However, the critical needs of children and families who have been maltreated are the basis to move ahead with a Family Learning Centre that will provide for meaningful family interactions.
Our Family Learning Centre is dedicated to preserving parent/child relationships by providing a safe, supportive and culturally sensitive environment for children to visit with non-custodial adults where there has been domestic abuse, child abuse, conflict with visits, or long-term relationship challenges between parent and child.
Our mission is to provide a culturally sensitive, safe, child focused, neutral setting that facilitates visitation and connections between children and significant non-custodial adults in their lives.
The Family Learning Centre is founded upon several guiding principles:
- The safety and security of children must always be first
- Healthy daily living skills will be promoted
- Emotions balance will be promoted
- A warm & inviting physical family setting is maintained
The Family Learning Centre is designed to meet the needs of children and families currently dealing with child protection concerns. The Centre believes that the potential for achieving healthy families is maximized when well-trained staff facilitates purposeful, positive visits between children and their parents.
Supervised visits provide opportunities for safe contact between a child and non-custodial adult under the guidance of a third party. At its core level, supervised visits are founded upon the evidence that children's contact with their biological parents, while they are placed in out of home care is beneficial with respect to emotional adjustment of not only the children, but also the parents.
In addition, supervised visits are seen as an effective evaluation tool designed to identify those families where relationship challenges can be addressed and strengthened. Essentially, supervised visits is a critical time in the lives of children and their parent as it can be the basis upon which the attachment bonds are maintained, strengthened, repaired or even terminated.
Over the past decade there has been a significant rise in the number of Aboriginal children in care and an increasing need for supervised visits. Most often these are done in a sterile, unwelcoming environment with minimally trained staff that simply record unstructured and culturally non-relevant observations of family interactions.
Aboriginal Family Services believes that more specific goals be achieved through supervised visits. This includes the ability to assess and document initial and subsequent changes in such things as the nature and quality of the parent/child relationship, the level of parent\'s understanding of and ability to meet the Childs needs and parent commitment and capacity to change.
For parents the goals of supervised visits include an opportunity to learn and demonstrate their commitment and capacity to change the way they provide care their children, to safely interact with their child during the sometimes-lengthy rehabilitation efforts. Finally the children's supervised visits work to reduce the trauma of separation and to establish or maintain the bond with their parents.
We provide a number of visitation services created to meet the needs of families including visits, resources and networking.
The Family Learning Centre provides several types of visits as well as specialized Family Education. Initially observed visits are used to establish a basis on family functioning, dynamics and family strengths. The second type of visit is where the supervisor takes an active role in facilitating meaningful and purposeful interactions between the parent and child. Both these visits include a intake and exit procedure, where the supervisor meets with the parent to discuss the progress and issues that have been observed and to develop a plan of action and goal for subsequent visits.
Each visit observations will include the following key areas:
- Appropriate communication
- Developmental appropriateness
- Handling of resistance
- Parental Role
After several visits a comprehensive individualized Family Development Plan will be initiated and parent-training session will begin with a supervisor utilizing the Centre and activities as a basis for training.
Additional services will include:
- Supervised transfer of children
- Parent Education Sessions
- Parent/Child Resources
Department of Community Resources & Employment
Gabriel Housing Corporation