Karen White, co-ordinator of the Family Resource Network in Lacombe, stands in the spacious facility which is located at #4, 4725 49B Ave. Mark Weber/Lacombe Express

Karen White, co-ordinator of the Family Resource Network in Lacombe, stands in the spacious facility which is located at #4, 4725 49B Ave. Mark Weber/Lacombe Express

Wide spectrum of services available at Family Resource Network

‘I just love helping families and watching them grow.’

The Lacombe-based Family Resource Network offers a wide spectrum of programming geared to helping local families.

A relatively new operation, they launched in what couldn’t have been a more challenging time – April 1, 2020 – early into the pandemic shutdown. But it didn’t take long for the organization to start having an impact.

Back in the spring of 2020, the provincial government closed down the Parent Link program and then rolled out the Family Resource Network as a revamped organization, said Karen White, the Network’s coordinator.

Family Resource Networks fall under the umbrella of McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association.

“There are three components to it – we have family facilitation which are the parenting groups, the groups for kids and the teen groups.

Specifically, the Family Support Program pairs families with a worker who will provide in-home support. They can help with everything from conflict resolution and the setting and maintaining of boundaries to helping parents better connect with their kids.

“We have home visitation – which is support for parents with children from zero to six years of age – supporting parents the best way that we can,” she said. “We also have the Family Support Program which is in-home support for parents of kids in the zero to 18-year-old age range with varying difficulties,” she explained. This programming is also intended to build parental/caregiver resiliency and is focused on the family unit to promote family wellness. Programs are flexible and goal-oriented to fit each family’s specific needs, according to information provided.

White also noted that there are resources out there in the greater community for families to utilize, but many folks often don’t know what is available.

These include government programs offering financial support for a range of situations. Staff at the Network can help direct local families to these sources of support.

Meanwhile, the broad range of services at the Family Resource Network is something White would like to emphasize.

“The addition of the Family Support Program is huge – before, there weren’t any supports available for families with kids ages six to 18. And now we have that.”

For White, her work at the Family Resource Network is certainly a fulfilling.

“I just love helping families and watching them grow.” She also enjoys helping folks find the resources that are available and that can really make a profound difference in their lives.

“We also serve in a lot of different communities (including Clive, Bentley, Alix and Blackfalds) and in each community we do different programs because we don’t want to copy things that others are doing well already.”

There is also a range of support groups and workshop opportunities through the Network including Moms Matter, a Virtual Book Club, a Special Needs Support Group and Mother’s Grace, which is an eight-week post-partum support group facilitated by AHS.

Registration is required for these particular groups – call 403-877-7439 or email madison.rankin@mcmancentral.ca.

Looking forward, White encourages those with any questions about how the Family Resource Network can help to get in touch by calling 403-896-3408 or emailing her at karen.white@mcmancentral.ca.

“If they have questions about parenting, about accessing various resources – that’s what we are here for,” she said, adding that the best way to keep up-to-date with the organization is to follow them on Facebook.

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