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The end of a chapter for Sundre's Parent Link

Parent Link programs end as restructuring occurs

After 15 years, Mountain View Parent Link programs in Sundre and throughout the region recently wrapped up.

The Sundre Municipal Library celebrated the end of the program on Wednesday, Feb. 12 with some games and crafts, songs, stories as well as treats.

A public statement from Mountain View Parent Link said programs and services would continue to be delivered throughout the region until Friday, Feb. 14.

“After this time, there will be a break in services as restructuring takes place for the new model of Family Resource Networks being introduced across Alberta,” it reads.

The resource networks are intended to provide support for families with children aged 0-18 — previous Parent Link programs were geared for ages 0-6 — and are scheduled to be introduced on April 1. The scope will encompass parent education programs, home visitation services and family resource centres, while providing additional programs and services for children, youth and families.

In Sundre, early literacy programs such as Wiggles and Giggles as well as Rhyming and Rhythm were delivered in partnership with the local library and a Parent Link facilitator. Those programs will continue to be offered through the library.   

But after eight years, Joleen Fluet, Sundre’s Parent Link program facilitator, is among those throughout the region who have been laid off in the face of restructuring. And while she said she could reapply, the new position would include a wider scope for reduced compensation.

Fluet said during the windup event at the library that although uncertain, she is nevertheless considering that approach and remains committed to the community.

“I love the families, or else I wouldn’t be here,” she said.

The Town of Didsbury previously held the contract for the Mountain View Parent Link program with Alberta Children’s Services, Nicole Aasen, Didsbury’s manager of community services, recently responded by email.  

Serving hundreds of families, Parent Link used to offer services and centres in five communities in Mountain View County, and also delivered services in rural portions of the county, she said.  

“We received a notice that all contracts for Parent Link within Alberta will be terminated effective March 31,” she said, adding that date also represented the end of the current contract year.

Through Alberta Children’s Services, she said the provincial government is looking to expand services offered to children and families to include a wider range of ages up to 18. Parent Link programs were tailored to cater to the 0-6 age range, she added.

“They are also looking to provide a more full range of services for these age groups, which need to include universal, targeted and early intervention programs and services,” she said, adding those objectives are based on the well-being and resiliency framework adopted by the ministry.

The government has recently been considering expressions of interest for agencies seeking to apply to provide the expanded services through a variety of identified network areas in the province, she said.  

“Mountain View County has been identified as a network area.”

Funding will be offered to successful applicants for a three-year term for programs that meet new criteria, she added.

But it’s the end of a chapter, as Parent Link programs will no longer exist in Alberta effective March 31, she said.

“However, in its place will be more robust services for children and families that can meet greater needs and offer enhanced services and programs.”

A proposal under the expression of interest was last month submitted on behalf of the Town of Didsbury. As of Tuesday, Feb. 18, Aasen said there were no updates in regards to that application.

Simon Ducatel

About the Author: Simon Ducatel

Simon Ducatel joined Mountain View Publishing in 2015 after working for the Vulcan Advocate since 2007, and graduated among the top of his class from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology's journalism program in 2006.
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