On November 26, Blackfalds Council unanimously agreed to ensure that Blackfalds Parent Link Centre programming continues from January through to March.
Currently, Blackfalds Parent Link Centre is operated by the Central Parkland Parent Link Network, facilitated through Lacombe and District Family and Community Support Services (FCSS). This Network also operates Parent Link Centre’s in the neighbouring communities of Wetaskiwin, Ponoka, Rimbey and Lacombe, with outreach programming in Clive, Mirror and Bentley.
Central Parkland Parent Link Network received notice from the Province that their current funding contract with the Alberta Ministry of Children’s Services is ending March 31, 2020. The Ministry has released an “expression of interest” with a deadline for “proponent response” submission of January 16, 2020. This funding opportunity is for Family Resource Network grants that will serve families and children 0-18 years old.
With the expense of shutting down the Centres and programs facilitated through the Central Parkland Parent Link Network, programming at the Blackfalds Centre was expected to decrease drastically for the months of January, February and March. Knowing that Blackfalds residents are actively engaged with the Parent Link programs, Town Council has made the decision to bridge the funding up to $21,000 for the three months to ensure Blackfalds families with young children are still supported.
“Our Council has followed the success story that is Blackfalds Parent Link,” states Mayor Poole. “We have witnessed firsthand how it touches lives and provides training, support and encouragement for families. To stop its operation during the months following Christmas, when many families feel challenged, would be a mistake that our Council feels cannot be made.
“We look forward to working with our MLA and our Minister to find ways to recover this expenditure, but in the meantime fully support its continuation until the new funding model is developed – which we hope will also include funding for the Community Capacity Building Initiative.”
The Town of Blackfalds received notice that their funding contract for Community Capacity Building Initiatives will end on March 31, 2020. This contract supports a staff position in the Community Services Department to facilitate donations to support subsidized programs which includes the Christmas Bureau, Tools for Schools, Winter Coats for Kids, the Leisure Access Pass, Bridging Diversity (a monthly gathering for new Canadians and Blackfalds residents), the Food Bank Society; as well as ensuring vulnerable children and families in the community are supported.
With this unanimous resolution, Town Council has directed administrative staff to pursue the Family Resource Network grant opportunity for the municipality to continue Parent Link type programming as well as the Community Capacity Building Initiatives.
The programming schedule for the first three months of 2020 will be released on both the Blackfalds Parent Link Centre and the Town of Blackfalds Facebook pages once it has been finalized on December 16.