DIDSBURY - The Town of Didsbury has been awarded the contract to spearhead the new youth and family support Mountain View Family Resource Network (MVFRN), which began operating across the district starting this month, officials said.
Network program services will include universal, targeted and early intervention programs, as well as information and supports for child development and well-being, caregiver building and social connection.
The network will operate out of Didsbury Neighbourhood Place at 1606 - 14th Street and will offer programs and services in Carstairs, Cremona, Didsbury, Olds and Sundre.
Nicole Aasen is the manager of community services for the Town of Didsbury.
“We will be located in Didsbury but we will also be running programs in those other communities,” said Aasen. “We won’t have permanent sites in those communities but we will be looking to partner with existing programs in their facilities and offer programs on a weekly basis in those communities.
“We will be looking to partner with libraries and other community resource centres where the programs would be held.”
The network is essentially replacing the Parent Link program, which was cancelled by the provincial government last November and officially ended on March 31.
“This replaces the Parent Link program that we held previously but the province is also looking to expand services (through the new network),” she said. “Parent Link used to operate for ages zero to six and their families. The new family resource network model operates from ages zero to 18 years and their families.
“It offers extended supports for children to grow throughout their childhood years. It does not just preventative types of programs but we are also able to offer more targeted and intensive service based on the needs that we are seeing within certain communities and certain family situations.”
Similar networks are being formed across the province.
Didsbury mayor Rhonda Hunter called the new MVFRN good for all communities involved.
“The Town of Didsbury community services department have consistently provided quality and meaningful programs and services to Didsbury and to rural and urban parents and youth in the Mountain View County region,” said Hunter.
“I wasn't surprised that we were awarded one of the newly announced Family Resources Network contracts knowing the strong department and exceptional personnel we have in place.”
Hunter said it's even more important than ever to have supports in place for Alberta's children, youth and families.
"With this new contract now including youth up to the age of 18, no age group will be missed, and supports and services will be expanded to meet the unique needs of our region with a goal to continue to build healthy families and contribute to healthy communities in our region,” she said.
The new MVFRN has formally partnered with the Healthy Families program, operated by Accredited Supports to the Community.
“The formal partnership between MVRFN and the Healthy Families program is critical to ensure that all families in Mountain View County can access supports and services in a setting that works for them,” said Aasen.
“Whether services are assessed through the MVFRN facility, within other community settings or in-home with Health Families, our region’s families and children will be well-served, receiving consistent information and supports.”
The network began limited capacity service on April 1 and will be fully operational once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, she said.
Aasen said she is not authorized to say how much funding MVFRN program is receiving from the province.
“It’s fully funded by the province of Alberta,” she said.
Network support is available to all Mountain View County residents by calling 403-335-8719. Information can also be accessed via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.