Kidz 1st Network Parent Link Centre

    As their children’s first teachers, care-giving parents and families play a key role in providing children with the skills, tools and confidence they need to fulfill their potential, succeed at learning and grow into healthy, productive adults.

    This is the first in a series of articles for parents of pre-school children. Future articles will provide specific information on parenting matters such as what to expect from children at different ages. Initially, though, we are providing background information about Parent Link services available to pre-school children and their families.

    Kidz 1st Network Parent Link Centre is a provincially funded service developed to serve families in South East Rocky View and Wheatland County including Carseland, Chestermere, Cheadle, Cluny, Delacour, Dalum, Gleichen, Hussar, Indus, Langdon, Lyalta, Nightingale, Rockyford, Rosebud, Standard, Strathmore and surrounding rural areas.

    THE CHALLENGE

    Research over the past decade has shown that parenting has a powerful impact on children’s learning and behaviour. It has also shown that parents need support and comprehensive, community-based parent resource programs can have positive, long-term effects on child development.

    Alberta Children’s Services conducted a province-wide survey of community programs, collecting data about the structure of Alberta’s family resource centres, the range and availability of the services they offer, and the demographic profile of users of these services.

    Survey results identified three key issues facing parent resource centres in the province:

    • Fewer than 10% of respondents were providing comprehensive services for children and parents.
    • Services were not always available to parents at convenient times.
    • Centres operated in relative isolation and with different standards of excellence.

    RESPONSE
    Alberta Children’s Services responded to this challenge by establishing the Parent Link program. Parent Link Centres are community planned and community based. They are centres of excellence that provide parents, caregivers and families with comprehensive support in five core services:

    • Parent education
    • Early childhood development and care
    • Family support
    • Information and referrals
    • Developmental screening

    PURPOSE

    The purpose of the Parent Link program is to:
    support Alberta’s parents in their role as their children’s first and most influential teachers link Alberta’s parenting programs and services through a province-wide network that promotes excellence
    facilitates the sharing of resources, knowledge and best practices
    fosters the creation of partnerships encourages cooperation on projects of value to the network as a whole, as well as to individual members

    EXPECTED RESULTS

    1. Parents are connected with programs, tools and resources that can help them raise strong, healthy, well adjusted children.
    2. Parents have improved parenting skills and confidence in providing a nurturing environment for child development.
    3. Quality parent-child relationships develop through the parents’ ability to read developmental cues and their understanding of children’s behaviour.
    4. Children with special needs are identified and referred to appropriate services at an early age.
    5. Children develop a readiness to learn.

    MANDATE

    Parent Link centres provide high-quality, comprehensive, accessible, community-based programs that comply with province-wide standards of excellence and respond to the changing needs of parents and families. In fulfilling this mandate, the centres

    • promote family wellness
    • promote positive parent-child relationships
    • improve parenting knowledge and skills
    • foster optimal child development
    • ensure that children get a healthy start in life

    FUNDING

    Funded by Alberta Children’s Services, a network of 56 Parent Link centres with well over 200 satellite or outreach locations have been established in the province. All Parent Link programs and resources are available to all families at no charge. To learn more call 310-0000.
    Kidz 1st Network Parent Link Centre is a Town Of Chestermere Community Services Program. For more information on local services call 403-207-7060.