I don't want to let the cat out of the bag as I'm sure this site is being watched by the CAS, but here is an excerpt from my proposal. Feedback would be appreciated. Thank you to all who continue to post information, I read the blog all the time and find it very beneficial!
Take care and I will let you know my progress on this project.
Goals and Mission
Why A Crisis Nursery?
There is a very large gap between loving, encouraging parents and extremely abusive, unfit parents. At present, there are very few social services for families who need help through a rough time in their lives, but who are capable, enthusiastic parents. Most of us have an extended network of loving family members and friends who are able to help us during our hard times; to take our children for short a duration, help out financially, to even just offer their company and listen to us. A lot of people do not have this web of close people to rely on; and let’s face it, everyone needs a little help on occasion. Asking for help should be considered a sign of strength, not of failure or weakness.
Jeffrey’s Place will be a safe place for parents to bring their children while they get the help they need to overcome a life crisis. This may be a loss of employment, loss of housing, financial difficulty, high levels of stress or sever depression, domestic violence, or the end of a relationship. It is, in effect, a children’s shelter.
Children will be able to stay at the house for up to two weeks while staff help their parents find a job, find affordable housing, get professional counselling for substance abuse, depression, stress, domestic violence, etc., receive parenting education and access to any other social service available that they need. The emphasis of all family social programs should be on helping parents to properly take care of their children so that families can stay together. Staff will visit the family’s at their homes after a child has stayed at the nursery to offer support and guidance for a year following release. In addition, parents or children can call the center 24 hours a day 365 days a year if they have questions or concerns.
The goal of Jeffrey’s Place is to reduce child abuse and neglect by educating and assisting parents as well as reducing the intervention by the Children’s Aid Society. It is understood that some cases may require more services than Jeffrey’s Place can offer, and it is in these circumstances that the CAS’s help will be requested.
Children will receive care in a safe and healthy environment while their parents get assistance with a life crisis.
Children will be assessed immediately after being brought to the center. The initial intake procedures and assessment will include the following and be documented:
the child’s name and age
the child’s physical appearance
the child’s emotional state
any belongings the child has will be labeled with their name and given back to them
the child will be asked favorite foods, drinks, activities, colours, etc. to encourage the child to become comfortable in the center and so the staff member can get to know the child
the centers services and rules, as well as the reason the child is there will be explained to the child in a manner suitable to the child’s age and emotional state
Children will be given three meals and two snacks a day. The meals will adhere to the child’s diet, (vegetarian, lactose intolerant, allergies, etc.) and will follow the Canada Food Guide. Meal plans will be prepared in advance and posted so that parents and children can see what will be served.
Children will have the opportunity engage in a variety of activities that suit their ability and age. Activities will be educationally based with time both outside and inside. There will also be toys, puzzles, books and craft items available for children to play with.
A report will be written at the end of each day about each child documenting:
the child’s behaviour when interacting with others (staff and the other children)
any aggressive, depressed or sexual behaviour
willingness and ability to learn new things
ability to cope with the environment around them
This report will be made available to the counsellor so they may effectively help the children in care. The child’s overall behaviour will determine the amount of time with them, but every child will see the counsellor upon arrival at the center.
Children will have journals available to them and will be encouraged to write or draw in them. They will keep these when they leave.
Older children will have light household responsibilities. They will basically include helping the staff to tidy up. A child will never be forced to do something, but helping around the house will be encouraged.
Children will be disciplined under the guidelines the Ministry provides for foster parents.
Should the Children’s Aid Society’s assistance be required, the child may remain at the center while a suitable foster family is being located unless otherwise specified by the CAS.
Parents will receive assistance with a life crisis in a nonjudgmental, compassionate environment.
As their children are being admitted into the center, parents will meet with a staff member to assess their situation. Parents will be asked a series of questions to determine their emotional state, approximately how long the child will be at the center, how we can effectively aid them, abuse history in the family, and what outcome they expect to gain from using the center.
From there, parents will be required to set up a plan of action. Using this information, we will put them in touch with the services they require. Housing, the job bank, a financial advisor to help with budgeting, counselling services, substance abuse organizations, women or men’s support groups, financial assistance programs, etc. They will be responsible for making and keeping appointments with these services, but will let us know what progress has been made. Some parents will be asked to attend parenting courses.
The parents, unless violent or under the influence, may contact their children. They can call their children anytime or visit their children at the center with prior notice.
At the end of two weeks, the parents will meet with staff again to discuss progress made and future goals.
Staff will visit the children and parents in their home throughout the following year at intervals:
Two days after the child has gone home
One week after the child has gone home
One month after the child has gone home
Once every three months after
Staff will be required to physically see and speak with the child and must spend time with the child alone and with the parents alone. Progress, concerns, questions and the general well-being of the family will be discussed at each visit. Staff will be documenting discussions, physical and emotional state of child, state of the household, (i.e. is there sufficient food in the house, are there any smells to indicate neglect of hygiene, are there signs of violence, etc.) and emotional state of the parents. If staff have concerns for the child’s safety, they may ask the parents permission to take the child to the center or they may call the CAS.
Diapers, formula and children’s clothing will be available at all times for parents to come and pick up.
Free parenting courses will be offered one evening a week to parents. Transportation and childcare will be arranged so it is easy for parents to come.
Statistics show that people who abuse were abused as children. They usually remember how it felt to be lonely, in pain, made to feel worthless, and miserable. In most cases, they probably don’t want to treat their children badly but don’t know how else to raise a child. This is how they were taught to deal with a child that cries or that wets their bed or who is messy when they eat.
People are afraid to ask for help because of the repercussions that may follow. The Children’s Aid Society has a reputation for taking children for a variety of reasons, some very questionable and unwarranted. The other problem with the CAS, (besides the reasons that the Auditor General’s report state) is that they don’t help the parents. The solution isn’t always as easy as removing children from their parents. Research shows that in many, many cases, the child would rather be with it’s parents, no matter how bad things got at home.
So why not help the child by helping the parents?
In many cases, although the parent is the adult, they act like children when they find themselves in frightening, stressful or strange circumstances because they weren’t given the tools to cope with anything unfamiliar. How do young children ask for help? They act out aggressively, they throw a tantrum, they cry and they get frustrated if they aren’t successful in what they are trying to do. However, these parents are adults and do need to be responsible and accountable for their actions but society can not fault someone for not knowing how to ask for help, or did ask and were punished for it.
By offering people a safe, nonjudgmental place to receive assistance and leave their children with confidence, it is anticipated that parents will be open to getting help and will use this service. Except in certain cases where the CAS will have to intervene, there are no disadvantages to this service. Parents can start getting their lives together while not having to worry about the welfare or whereabouts of their children, the children can get the counselling and education they may need and the end result is that the family can stay together.
The cycle of abuse will just continue spiraling out of control. This service is intended to help people cope with the stresses in their lives, learn how to raise their children and stop the pattern of abuse.