New family support services available to Bow Valley residents

There's new help for families with kids of all ages across the Bow Valley.

The Bow Valley Family Resource Network is a free provincial program that supports early childhood development and reduces the need for intervention in later years.

Its regional hub opened last month in Canmore, where services are being coordinated. The hub and spoke system offers support to residents across the province including in Canmore, Lake Louise, Banff and Calgary.

"Life is challenging for all families," said Lisa Brown, manager of community and social development in Canmore.

"Some of them are very typical challenges, so maybe maternal depression or sleep challenges ... but it could also be issues like if there is addiction in the household, financial struggles ... or marital breakdown."

Submitted by Julie Strang

The network connects residents with family support workers and professionals who give caregivers the tools to deal with at-home challenges.

"There's something there to give you that whole family support," said Brown, noting that in more severe cases, families can be transferred to intervention services.

The network replaced the Parent Link Centre, which offered services to families with kids under the age of six. But, that has changed with the relaunch to help tackle a bigger age group.

"We all have the mandate to make sure that we are following an ... early childhood development wellness framework with a goal of reducing the number of intervention services across Alberta," said Brown.

Current services are being offered online until in-person meetings and drop-in services are allowed again.