Connections Supports 91 Families to Maintain Safe, Nurturing Homes for Their Children

Parents with cognitive challenges face many barriers to being successful parents – a disproportionate number will have their children taken away. Yet these parents love their children as much as anyone else. At Connections, we know consistent support that matches the learning styles of the parents helps these families stay together and their children to grow up healthy, strong and reaching their full potential.

In 2013, 91 families were supported by Connections, an increase of 12 percent from 2012 and up 146 percent since 2010. Most of these families only needed minimal but consistent visits to develop their parenting skills and to get connected with other community supports, and then they were able to manage very well. The families supported by Connections need the same support as any other parent, from time to time, but they are isolated, without family or friends to rely upon, and they can’t obtain support because of limited financial resources.

During 2013, 33 families were able to have their child intervention files closed because there was no longer concern for their ability to be an effective parent. The success of Connections’ In-Home program comes from building a trusting relationship to provide support when life can be overwhelming, in contrast to parenting classes or book-learning that typically don’t work for these parents.

This remarkable growth at Connections was achieved because of a talented family support team who have expertise in disability and parenting skills training, fueled by funding from the Alberta Government, community organizations and individuals.

Connections invested $717,124 during 2013 or $7,880 per family per year. (This contrasts to $27,000 per year for a child in foster care.) With funding of $692,000, Connections ended the year with a small deficit of just under $25,000. Audited financial statements are available here. We continue to work to build our financial support so that we can ensure our services are consistent and able to meet the need.

In 2014, we will aim to increase our revenue so that we do not end the year in a loss position. Along with continuing to support families directly, we are updating our website and adding resources so that peer agencies better support families affected by cognitive challenges. This will be of some help to the agencies who call Connections from all over the province to find effective support for parents who learn differently. After 24 years, Connections continues to be the only agency focused on parenting with a cognitive challenge.

Connections will also plan events for 2015 to celebrate 25 years of helping families and to build awareness and funding so that the families who are successful because of support we provide can count on us in the future.

Connections Counselling and Consulting Foundation strengthens families in which a parent has learning challenges (cognitive deficit, developmental disability,
brain injury, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, etc.). Connections is a registered charity, BN # 890700347RR0001.