Family Connections

Keeping families connected.


Caring families are the strongest force in raising and guiding children and youth. Parents who actively seek and accept the help they need from time to time provide the key to happy, healthy and well motivated young people who become involved in and contribute to their communities. WJS Canada helps families help themselves with a full range of family-empowering services. We encourage them to talk with each other to share opinions and build on strengths that have been hidden and may offer a source of help. Even the most well-intentioned and committed family can benefit from outside professional help in comfortable surroundings. We connect with family members separated by distance who can offer a more objective point-of-view and take the pressure off immediate family by ‘spreading the load’ across a community of caring relatives.


Finding someone who cares


The most significant factor in helping youth overcome the past and work toward the future as a content and contributing member of their community is the permanence of a significant other. Our programs are dedicated to finding that person and securing their commitment to the individual in our care. To this end, we have developed an array of options for exploring relationships within the family and discovering other, perhaps distant, family and friends who may prove to be key in creating an enabled, empowered, positively focused and integrated member of society. Ideally, we are able to facilitate foster home placement, but the primary goal is permanency in a rich and rewarding relationship.

Programs in Alberta

Family team meetings connect children and youth with non-resident parents and extended family as well as concerned parties. Following referral from Children and Family Services (CFS), WJS staff connect with kin to organize and facilitate meetings in convenient community settings. Children are transported to the meeting and introduced during breaks. Meetings may take place in the child’s community or other locations including out of province.

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A Family Group Conference (FGC) is a mediated formal meeting between family members and professionals such as social workers, counsellors, teachers and other community members concerned with the care and protection of a child or adolescent and intending to keep the child out of the care of CFS. The meetings are facilitated and co-ordinated by WJS staff as impartial representatives and independent of the family’s Children and Family Services casework decisions. At The Family Group Conference, parents and extended family members are helped in making decisions about the best way to support the family and care for the child. The child’s family, support worker and professional practitioners work closely together to make decisions that best meet the needs of the child.

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Family Finding and Engagement (FFE) was originally developed to meet the needs of children and youth who lack important connections and are languishing in foster care. Today WJS staff and partners apply FFE efforts to connect children of all ages with family.

Children who are living in foster care without permanent family connections or physical and emotional connections with other adults are more likely to experience difficulty later in life.

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