By Jaxon McGinn
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
Sunny South News
It has been a tough year for families across southern Alberta.
Family and Community Support Service (FCSS) offers another way for caregivers and parents to reach out for support. The FCSS Caregiver café group is set to meet on Jan. 17 for the next five weeks, with a very clear goal in mind.
“With these cafés, I hope they feel supported and know where to turn to when they need more help or support, and they feel connected to other people in their community,” said Penny Pittman, family support worker, who will be operating the hybrid online/in-person caregiver café for people around southern Alberta.
The Caregiver Café is a program FCSS adapted from Parent Café, originating from Be Strong Family. The café concept is based on five protective factors.
“The idea is we want to support parents in maintaining healthy and strong families. The first protective factor the café addresses are parental resilience, just that bounce back factor and the ability to handle challenges and kind of take on what comes your way,” added Pittman.
Relationships and social connection are the second factors, and the third factor involves knowledge of parenting and child development.
The idea is that you do what you know, and when you learn something different or something better, you can do better, added Pittman.
Support is the fourth factor, encapsulating concert support such as relationships, referrals, and community resources.
“Families need support now more than ever said Pittman. One of our main jobs is connecting them to those supports that they can access”.
Last but not least is the fifth factor, and that’s communication, yet the café also has another crucial goal, according to Pittman.
“When our funding had changed a couple years ago, we started looking at protected factors more for families and children just to help families build strength from the inside out so we could support the caregivers and we can help build stronger families and stronger communities.”
For further information about the café session, you can visit their home page at fcss.ca.