To address the current over-representation of Black children in the youth protection system ACDPN in collaboration in the Batshaw Youth and Family Centres, developed the “Empowering Parents and Families” program. This program was a three-year pilot program and ACDPN is working to maintain its sustainability.
This short term six-week program was for parents and children aged 6-12 years old in the English- speaking Black community. The focus was on healthy approaches to communication and discipline. Each session consisted of weekly workshops for parents and children and cover several topics including stress management, conflict resolution and active listening. Parents and children worked on a particular topic separately and then came together to share what they learned. By working together, this presented an extraordinary opportunity to develop strategies and strengthen the family bonds. Before each workshop, the families had a meal together, and then reunited to participate in fun group activities to close the evening. When needed, transportation was provided as well as childcare for pre-school age siblings on-site. In just 3 years we’ve worked with 84 families and held 15 sessions.
In addition to providing important tools and information our main objective was to create a social support network for these families which included community organizations and public institutions as well as other parents who were facing the same everyday challenges.
The Empowering Parents & Families Program was part of a more global approach that sought to foster more active involvement of community organizations and to promote the development of community-institutional partnerships with the public network which allowed for the ethnocultural and linguistic adaptation of programs and support services to improve outcomes for children and families.