The Child’s Circle Program is a joint venture between Northwest Child and Family Services and the Fort Vermilion School Division.
The Child’s Circle Workers support students and families demonstrating risk factors by helping families build on their strengths and increase their potential for success. While the mandate of the educational staff of the school (administrators, teachers and educational assistants) is to provide appropriate learning opportunities, the mandate of the Child’s Circle Worker is to focus on services for students and families that positively impact their overall well-being and reduce the risk of child maltreatment.
- Intervention with families, including in-home support and direct client service for individual families, group programs to increase the strengths of families, and referrals for families to seek community resources.
- In-school support services which may include individual and/or group activities and interventions with identified students.
The Child’s Circle staff are based out of the schools and provide services to children, youth and families within the schools as well as within the communities and directly with parents/caregivers in their homes. The following is the allocation of Child’s Circle staff to the school division communities:
High Level and area: 1 FTE Child’s Circle worker
Fort Vermilion: 1 FTE Child’s Circle worker
La Crete and area: 1 FTE Child’s Circle worker
Rocky Lane: .5 FTE Child’s Circle worker
Rainbow Lake: .5 FTE Child’s Circle worker
The Child’s Circle Program supports families and children when the child is attending a Fort Vermilion School Division No.52 school. While a family or child can be involved with the Child’s Circle Program for as long as necessary, the typical Service Plan is in place for approximately 6 months. Families are supported to reach their goals and in times of crisis throughout the calendar year.
This program offers the following services to increase the protective factors and reduce risk factors of families. The Child’s Circle workers will partner with community agencies such as Alberta Health Services, Child and Family Services, High Level Parent Link Center, and other Early Intervention programs among others to provide the following for children/youth and families at risk:
- Family Service plan
- Parenting programming:
- Direct supports that provide mentorship and coach parenting skills. Some of this work will be in the family home, working with the whole family unit. Please see below for more information on the In Home Support services.
- Group Programs such as “My Tween and Me,” “Healthy Parents/Happy Kids” and others as required
- Triple P Parenting (levels 3 and 4)
- Youth supports focused on anger management, bullying, building healthy relationships and developing positive social and emotional skills.
- Transitional services or follow up services.
Children, youth and families may be referred by school staff, parents, themselves and/or outside agencies. Children, youth and families are referred to the Child’s Circle program using the Student Support Services Referral Form. The referral process also includes interview(s) with the family and other involved agencies as needed to determine the risk factors experienced by the family and need for early intervention services. Anecdotal records of these interviews and any survey information gathered are retained in the client file.
If a child, youth and/or family is to receive direct support from the Child’s Circle worker, a Service Plan is developed by the Child’s Circle worker, parent, child/youth, involved school staff and other involved service providers and signed by the parent/caregiver.
Student and family needs are related to the risk factors identified in the Prevention and Early Intervention Framework for Children, Youth and Families.
Specific examples of need may include:
- Social/emotional risk indicators: An inability to establish or maintain satisfactory relationships with peers or adults, a general mood of unhappiness or depression, in-appropriate behaviour or feelings under ordinary conditions, difficulties in accepting realities of personal responsibility and accountability, physical violence toward other persons and/or physical destructiveness toward the environment.
- Physical well-being risk indicators: Hunger, improper/insufficient clothing, unkempt appearance, unmet vision/dental needs, untreated frequent health concerns (colds, coughs, flu, skin disease), fatigue, lethargy, “nowhere to go” purposelessness, “spaced out” or hung over (teens).
- Self-worth risk indicators: low self-esteem, no self-confidence, poor or negative self-image.
- Absenteeism, tardiness, academic underachievement.
- Families may demonstrate risk factors including but not limited to the following:
- Chronic mental health problems, including depression
- Substance abuse
- History of abuse and/or family violence
- Poor understanding of child development
- Social isolation
- Poverty or unemployment
- Low parental involvement
- Poor housing
- Lack of access to services
A Service Plan Review is conducted after three months of service from the Child’s Circle Worker.
- This involves reviewing the risk factors of the child, youth and family and the growth made through involvement with the Child’s Circle program. The initial referral form is revisited by the initial referral sources to determine growth and/or continuing areas of need.
- The caregivers also complete a survey to determine the extent to which their strengths have been positively impacted.
- The Service Plan is reviewed with all stakeholders, preferably in a wraparound meeting, to determine where success has been met and a student or family may be exited from the program and, alternatively, where changes may be required in the case of students or families whose level of risk warrants continued involvement with the Child’s Circle Program.