Finding, Keeping & Honouring Connections: Family and Children's Services of Guelph Wellington
Family and Children's Services Guelph Wellington recognizes the historical role of welfare services in severing ties between families and children; undoing support to parents and children who age out of foster care; and enabling systemic trauma. F&CS Guelph now aims to change the system to emphasize that children not only need a place to live permanently to grow to their potential, but they also need caring, mindful adults to support them. In order to attain this goal, in 2012, F&CS created agency positions called Family Finding and Permanency Support and hired two staff. Their role was to find and reconnect people to their past to create a new future; create networks of support for both parents and children; listen to the stories of the people they were working with and use their feedback to improve services; and, honour the experience of families and children. The implementation of this role resulted in rekindled relationships with family, who were able to provide children with support. Parents said that reconnecting with their past was painful but was helpful in their healing process, they now had channel of support they could tap into when needed. Generally, people (including children, youth, family members) reported finally being “helped”, “heard” and “honoured”.