The Parent Child Assistance Program began in the fall of 2006. The program now consists of a supervisor,Maternal Child nurse and two Mentors. The Mentors provide direct outreach, home visitation, and advocacy. Mentors also empower the women throughout the three year duration, thus, allowing the woman strength and direction in order to accomplish/succeed in any endeavor put on her life’s path. This program originated in Seattle Washington and has shown to be a positive influence on women’s lives.
Standard Eligibility Criteria for enrollment into PCAP is as follows:
- Women who self report abusing alcohol &/or drugs during pregnancy and who are pregnant or up to six months postpartum; and ineffectively engaged with community services.
- Women who have previously delivered a child with FAS or FAE and are have current, ongoing alcohol abuse, are in childbearing years, and are ineffectively engaged with community services.
- In both cases, the woman must reside in Gitanmaax, Glen Vowell, Kispiox, or within the Hazelton’s or Two Mile area.
Once enrolled, a Mentor will work with the woman and target child for a period of three years. If the mother does not have custody of the child, mentoring will continue with the caregiver and mom for the 3 year duration. The Mentor will also advocate for other family members within the household. Mentors provide extensive in-depth assistance and the long-term emotional support that is critical to women who are making life altering changes in their lives. Often the Mentor will refer the mother to agencies such as: mental health counselor, alcohol & drug addictions counselor, housing managers, child development centre, suicide interventions, social workers and doctors clinic. Mentoring occurs over a long enough period of time to allow for gradual and positive changes. The model is based on a principle of harm reduction, clients are never asked to leave if there is a continuation of substance use intake. Elders also have the opportunity to be involved in offering traditional knowledge, wisdom and teachings either one-on-one or in a group setting.
The program is voluntary and women sign forms indicating consent. Clients can be self-referred, or through service providers or frontline workers.