Keeping Vulnerable Families Together
This entry has been selected as a finalist in the
BC Ideas: Solutions for Stronger Communities competition.
We help vulnerable parents be able to raise their own kids. We believe kids are better off in their own families whenever possible and that this will save money
About Your Organization
Trail Family and Individual Resource Centre Society
Country where this solution is creating social impact
Canada, BC, Trail
Region in BC where your solution creates social impact
Is your organization a
Non‐profit/NGO/citizen sector organization
How long has your organization been operating?
More than 5 years
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Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Idea (you're poised to launch)
How long have you been in operation?
Still in idea phase, but looking to launch soon
Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your solution addresses? Choose up to two
The Need: Describe the need for your solution and the size and characteristics of the community(ies) your solution is engaging
Greater Trail is a community of just under 20,000.00. Through contracts with MCFD FAIR supports parents whose children are in foster care with the goal of helping parents develop skills & capacity so that children can be returned. With many of these families there are inter-generational barriers. The parents love their kids, want to be parents to them & the kids want to go home. It costs MCFD a great deal to keep them in foster care. In many cases parents and children can be effectively reunited. In the case of a sizable minority - generally pareants who come from a generation or more of substance abuse, poverty & other issues that have prevented them from having their own needs met as children - they are not successful.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
Supported Housing for Parents: A model based on our current Second Stage Housing for women who have left a Transition House & are needing addtional time & support. Purchase or rental of an appartment building for parents who are still stuggling with parenting issues, substance abuse, & basic lifeskills so that children could be safely returned, providing an incentive to parents & minimizing the mutural trauma of separation. FAIR would provide:
- an overnight building manager with parent support skills (human service diploma)
- building caretaker (current Transtion House/Second Stage caretaker with expanded hours )
Family Support & Children's Support workers would do some of thesir current work at this site
Parents would be supported in connecting with community colledge for education/skills upgrades, Skills Centre for employment counseslling, A&D & Mental Health counsellors when relevant, other FAIR progrms.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include the primary activities involved in your solution.
See above for overview.
Details would include: basic lifeskills (scheduling, getting kids up in the morning, meal preparation, housekeeping, coaching on child devlelpment & age appropriate activities, encouragaement to fully use community resources & acttual monitoriy to ensure children were not being neglected, abuse, or parents using alcohol & drugs during stay. Mutual support from other residents would also be a significant component.
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others working to address the same needs as you and indicate what sets you apart from them.
We are the only Family Services agency in Greater Trail providing these services. We do & would continue to collaborate with the other agencies (MCFD, Heath Authority, Employment Serices (Skills Centre & Career Development Services)
This Entry is about (Issues)
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world.
One of our Children's Support Workers identified the idea when Team was discussing frustrations of young parents who were really, really trying & for a while suceeding but ulitimately not able to keep their kids (kids back & forth between parents receiving services & foster care). She said: the problem is that the parents need "re-parenting" and way more support than they are gettng living on their own - a year of this could turn things around". We shared this with our community's MCFD social workers who were very excited about the idea: both from the perspective of achieving better outcomes & of saving foster care money.
Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve
To help the most challenged parents in our community - those with multiple challenges & barriers - who are connected to their kids, really want to keep their kids, - achive the lifeskills & parenting skills to be able to be adequate (or even great) parents.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
Lots of support from everyone who has heard the idea but this is very early stage planning. We would like money for:
(1) a feasabilty study (focussed on practical issues like building purchase options including grants, building maintenance cost issues, pitfalls, real estate market assessment...
(2) The start of a project fund. This could be supplemented by community fundraising & sustained by MCFD diverting some existing funds to this project
What is your projected impact over the next five years?
6 families/year receive up to 1 year of intensive housing, parenting & lifeskills support so that they are able to successfully keep their kids without further MCFD involvement
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
Availability of affordable real estate that will not be too expensive to maintain (Trail has some quite affordable real estate but much of it is in very poor condition)
Proper feasability study to identify pitfalls & ensure we are able to properly finance this project prior to taking it on
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Feasibility Study to identify whether this project is possible at this time
Feasaability Study to identify suitable locations & purchase decision
Securing of resources (financial, knowledge, & physical)
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
To have identified a building & secured finances (in addition to rents from parents) to maintain the site & the services
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Feasibilty Plan (acutal costs, sources of revenue)
Real Estate & Property Management Plan
Funds in place for building purchase & on-site services
Tell us about your partnerships
No formal partnerships in place yet but FAIR has long history of informal paratnerships in Trail. MCFD (locally not the decision makers) has expressed strong interest in diverting foster care costs to project such as this. MCFD at provincial level has neither accepted nor dismissed the idea.
Are you currently targeting other specific populations, locations, or markets for your solution? If so, where and why?
What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?
We know the issue, we have support in the community, the idea just makes sense to everyone.
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list