Consort and Stettler Parent Link programs will be no more once March 31, 2020 begins.
On Nov. 4, McMan Youth, the overarching program that Consort and Stettler fall under was notified that their evergreen funding from Alberta’s Ministry of Children’s Services was cut.
A provincial review of its’ framework is in the process so there is a possibility the centres may return but at the moment it is up in the air in terms of what could happen between now and then.
“What it does is leaves our families hanging. We have been told that the framework will meet the needs, we just don’t know what the new framework looks like,” said Bertha Lafontaine, Consort’s Parent Link coordinator.
Six parent link centres in the central region including the cities have been affected with 25 people given their layoff notices including three employees in Consort.
Parent Link Centres (PLC) serve as a way to bring services to families that sometimes need extra help.
They have a centre in Consort that gives parents a place to meet and connect.
Qualified staff deliver parenting programs, share information about child development, and help families deal with parenting and family issues.
Positive parenting skills and an understanding of what to expect of children at different developmental stages are linked to positive developmental outcomes for children.
Support at PLCs also helps parents positively influence the health and well-being of children.
All programs are provided free of charge as well.
“That is probably one of the biggest draws,” said Lafontaine.
As an Alberta-based initiative, the Parent Link Centre Network has met the demand for services to support parents and families.
Since 2004, the network has grown from 22 groups, serving approximately 5,800 Albertans, to 59 groups with multiple locations serving more than 107,000 Albertans a year.
Lafontaine worries for the families they serve as many are in remote areas such as those near the Saskatchewan border.
Consort PLC covers Coronation, Brownfield, Consort, New Brigden, Veteran, Altario, Compeer, Mirror, Kirriemuir and more.
“Our parents are very upset for the fact that it will leave nothing now for them, especially in the remote areas like Kirriemuir and New Brigden,” she said.
“Because we do a lot of referring to other services the children may not necessarily get the help that they need.
The fact that we have to travel already for a lot of other services, this is just going to be something else that gets added to it.”
Healthy Families and Babies Matter are other programs that have been cut off from funding.