Supports children (6 to 12 years old) involved with Child and Family Services, who cannot live with their own family for a variety of reasons. Connects, a group care program feels like a traditional home designed to safeguard children from abuse and neglect, and encourage family stability.
Males & Females Ages: 8 to 12 years
Funded / Accessed by: Region 3 Calgary and Area Child and Family Services Authority
Children accepted into the Connects program live together in a house in a Calgary community. The space is designed to feel like a traditional home with a yard, individual bedrooms, and children may also assist with chores appropriate to their age. There’s also access to parks and recreation opportunities and 24/7 staff. Daily routines are established and where possible structure and predictability are introduced for the child, who’s typically been removed from their own family for a variety of reasons.
Children may take part in outings like bike rides and nature hikes, hobbies, sports, and other leisure activities, but they’re also provided with a variety of therapies — including play therapy — from the on-site therapist. This is a unique aspect of the Connects program which allows the therapist to observe the child in the home-type setting, as they interact with peers and adult staff, so a true snapshot of the child’s life can be captured, evaluated and therapy can be adjusted day-by-day.
The non-invasive environment strives to create safe relationships with adults and positive role models for traumatized children. Up to four children may live at the Connects home and approximately two to four staff members may be on duty at any one time, creating a high ratio of staff to children.
Children often move on from Connects after a stay that can range from several weeks up to several months when a more permanent residence is available including a return to family or kinship placement. Children who’ve lived at Connects have often developed improved coping mechanisms, self-awareness and increased emotional vocabulary and stronger relationship building skills following their stay.
Love and self-discovery change children’s lives.