Family Connections Program
The Family Connections Program works in partnership with our communities to provide services that support First Nations women and their families. This program supports the development of the physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual wellbeing of all peoples. The members we serve in this program are prenatal/postnatal mothers, children from birth to 6 years of age, older children including youth, and their families. The Family Connections Program ensures that there is a strong emphasize on prevention and safety through all programs administered in this cluster.
The Mental Health & Addictions Program coordinates the Canadian Prenatal Nutrition Program’s (CPNP), and the Family Connections Program. The enhanced Canadian Prenatal Nutrition Program’s (CPNP) goal aims to improve maternal and infant health through education provided to pre-pubertal, preconception, prenatal and postnatal women. CPNP has an intensive 26 session program that aims to support, counsel and educate prenatal and postnatal mothers. The goal is to improve maternal and infant nutritional health by providing a greater depth of service to women earlier in their pregnancy and for a longer duration postpartum. The program has a particular focus on those who are facing difficult life circumstances that threaten their health and the development of their babies.
The Family Connection Program is designed to empower all First Nations Women within childbearing years in making healthier lifestyle choices and to decrease the number of alcohol and/or drug exposed births in our community. In the event that children have been exposed to alcohol during pregnancy, the program works with the family to ensure that they have the supports, services and information needed to improve the quality of life of those who experience Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), and their families. The program promotes this by working collaboratively with the Nursing, Mental Health & Addictions, and Healthy Living Programs to provide seamless service.
The Family Connections Program offers home visits to families. This is a unique program that provides intensive case management, support and advocacy. These home visitors (mentors) support the parents in building strong relationships with their children and families. In addition they provide information, teach life skills, provide advocacy, and encourage families to work toward developing and maintaining healthy lifestyle choices. This is done by connecting the families with community services, assisting and supporting them with goal setting and focusing on the families’ strengths.
Maternal & Newborn Health Program
• Education is provided regarding the importance of a healthy lifestyle for a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby; including information on nutrition, weight, addictions, family planning, relationships, etc. Education is offered through the schools, adult education classes, youth groups, or on a one to one basis.
• Pregnancy testing is available for early detection of pregnancy and early referral to the doctor is encouraged.
• Prenatal classes for both men and women in group and/or individual settings are offered.
• Early and continuous prenatal care throughout the pregnancy to monitor both mom and fetus to ensure their well-being is promoted.
• Lifestyle education and counselling about the potentially harmful effects of poor nutrition, smoking, alcohol and other substances on the developing fetus is provided.
• Breast-feeding is promoted and education about the benefits is provided.
• Phone contact with new Mom is initiated within 24 hours of discharge from hospital.
• A home visit is carried out to all newborns within first 2 weeks of delivery.
• Maternal and newborn assessments for any risk factors are conducted.
• Screening for growth and development is carried out every 2 weeks until 2 months old and then monthly until 4 months old.
• Support is provided and high-risk moms/families are referred to appropriate resources.
• Breast-feeding is promoted and new mothers are provided with guidance and assistance as necessary.
• Mom and family receive support/education as appropriate regarding care of newborn.
• Family planning is reviewed.
• Mom/baby are encouraged to see doctor for check-up at 10 days and 6 weeks or as requested by physician.
• Mom/family receive education regarding immunizations.
Family Connections Program
Clients who access services from the Family Connections Program are women in their child bearing years, pregnant women or women who have recently given birth, women who have family who may be affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and women who are at risk of drinking or doing drugs while pregnant. The Program uses the following assessment and awareness tools while working with families: genogram, cycle of life, eco gram, goal setting, developing plans, safety planning and the medicine wheel.
• Client assessments and referral requests for all Family Connection services are provided and may originate from any source including client self-referral
• All referrals are directed to the Mental Health & Addictions Program Manager to conduct an intake
• Home visits and transportation are provided to families accessing service from the program
• Pregnant mothers, fathers, family and the community are encouraged to support the birth of healthy babies.
• Liaison with teachers and families to ensure awareness when educating children with FASD struggles is provided through advocacy.
• Education is provided to families and community to increase knowledge of parenting, FASD, behavioural challenges etc.
• Referrals, prevention and intervention services addressing alcohol and drugs while pregnant are provided.
• Mentors maintain a caseload of up to10 clients per Mentor.
• Participation in community awareness programs is encouraged and provided.
• Mentors provide support to Mothers and families as they go through the process for FASD diagnosis.
Infant and Child Home Assessment
The Family Connections Program will administer the Infant and Child Home Assessment to Canoe Creek, Soda Creek and Williams Lake Indian Band members. A Community Health Representative/Home Visitor/Community Health Nurse will make a referral to the Family Connections Program and the Program Manager will meet with the new family. In addition, there may be times when a family may be identified as needing an infant child risk assessment completed; however, may not be in the prenatal program. The Mental Health & Addictions Program Manager will assess eligibility.
• To be active in the CPNP or the Family Connections Program
• To agree to have the Infant and Child Home Assessment completed in the family home
• To participate in a safety education session and complete an infant Child Safety Assessment Checklist
Safety Package Items
• Locking straps
• Cabinet and drawer swivel lock
• Electrical outlet caps
• Cord windup/curtain
• Safe start book/education packs on cribs
• Washer lock
• Dryer lock
• Fridge lock
• Stove lock
• Cabinet door and drawer lock
• Foam corner protectors
• Door knob covers
• Baby gate
• Smoke detector
Cribs for Kids/Infant and Child
The Family Connections Program administers the Cribs for Kids Program to the Canoe Creek, Soda Creek and Williams Lake Band in collaboration with the Prenatal and Postnatal Program. This program encourages our prenatal and postnatal families to access our Cribs for Kids Program. In order to be eligible, the families need to:
• Enrol in the Family Connections Program until baby is one years of age
• Be referred or self-refer before baby is 3 months of age
• Agree to a home visit a week after they have received the crib. (At this time the worker assesses the crib and provides crib safety education).
• Agree to see the Home Visitor (Mentor) once a month until baby is one year of age
• Agree to an Infant and Child Safety Assessment when baby reaches 3 months of age
Who to contact
Mary Harry – Family Connections Liaison, 250-398-9814 ext. 218
Barb Wycotte – Family Connections Liaison, 250-398-9814 ext. 210