ALIGN Executive Director Report – September 2017

Thank-you to all of you who attended our AGM in Red Deer on September 29th. It looks like our timing with the weather was right! For those of you who weren’t able to attend – please see the following updates and for those of you who were there, you’ll see I’ve included some recent sector updates and training links not yet available at the AGM.  If you have any questions about these activities or anything else we do at ALIGN please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Rhonda Barraclough
rhondab@alignab.ca
780 233-5459

ALIGN Executive Director Report – September 2017

This is new info we just received! Children’s Services has officially announced that they have identified three Children’s Services-specific divisions and the Assistant Deputy Ministers (ADMs) Read More

ALIGN has had a very busy spring and fall for 2017.  The Child Intervention Panel began in February 2017 and has been a challenge to stay on top of.  ALIGN has made two presentation to the panel and has been a resource for the panel organizers to get other speakers that fit certain categories. We have also encouraged agencies to submit to the panel recommendations as per the guidelines outlined or just their thoughts in particular areas. All panel deliberations can be heard on the Child Intervention Panel Website, and all submissions made by members can be seen on our ALIGN Website.

Nicole McFadyen (Child Intervention)and  Cathy Mitchell (Occupational Health and Safety, ALIGN Journal and a Mental Health Projects) have settled nicely into their positions and are working well in their areas of interest.  I have recently contracted with a communications specialist to help us with some of our messages, fact sheets, and reports in an effort to get a consistent look and feel to our work.

The ALIGN Board has worked hard on the Strategic Plan and the revisions of the bylaws and board policies. We will be moving forward on the planned direction and approving these activities.

In January 2018, we will be holding our 10th Annual Conference and a 50-year celebration for ALIGN.  We will go down memory lane a bit and have a great celebration. Registration opening later this week.

As government has moved from the Ministry of Humans Services transitioning to 2 Ministries we have had to develop new relationships and understandings of who does what.  There is now the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) and the second is the Ministry of Children Services (MCS).  All child intervention services and the indigenous engagement were moved to the Ministry of Children Services.  The Ministry of Community and Social Services still holds disability services, services for family violence among other service areas and they jointly are responsible for contracting.  ALIGN has met with the Ministers and Deputy Ministers for both Ministries.  Disabilities services also have a new ADM – John Stinson and I will be meeting with him later in October.  In Children Services, the ADM for Child intervention has been Mark Hattori that will change in October to Rae Ann Lajeunesse.  Mark will have a new portfolio.  We have asked to meet with Rae Ann and Mark.

For Child Intervention Services, Jon Reeves and Russ Pickford were appointed as Directors of Child Intervention.  Their role is to align all child intervention services provincially and to get more consistency in how services are provided and received across the province.  Jon serves the area from Leduc south and Russ from Edmonton north.

Procurement, contracting and contracts continue to be a bit of a ambiguous.  We have met with the DM and Minister regarding the need to have contracts move forward.  We were told that in reality little will move until the Child Intervention Panel concludes and makes recommendations.  We continue to advocate that parts of the system still can be procured, or negotiated.
See P.A.T. Final Reports August 2017 and ALIGN updates.

Bill 17 – Fair and Family-Friendly Workplaces Act

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ALIGN Presents Bill 17 Presentations – Register Now!

Bill 17 Presentation St. Albert October 5, 2017
Bill 17 Presentation Lethbridge October 20, 2017
Bill 17 Presentation Calgary October 31, 2017
Bill 17 Presentation Red Deer November 2, 2017

Preliminary-Review-of-Bill-17 (Neuman Thompson September 2017)
On May 24, 2017, the provincial government tabled Bill 17, titled the Fair and Family-Friendly Workplaces Act. Bill 17 includes a number of significant reforms to two of the most important workplace-related laws in Alberta, being the Alberta Employment Standards Code (the “ESC”), and the Labour Relations Code (the “LRC”). The following is meant to provide a summary of some of the most noteworthy reforms that have been tabled as part of this Bill…

Alberta Government –  Bill 17: The Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act,  changes will come into effect on January 1, 2018.

Alberta Employer Advisor Bill 17 – Proposed Changes to Alberta’s Employment Standards Code

Cathy Mitchell and Nicole McFadyen – Updates June 2017- September 2017

Submission Being Accept Now!
Leadership Bursary

We are excited to announce that we can once again offer agency and individual leadership bursaries.  We will not be able to fund academic 2-year bursaries but agency can apply for up to $5,000.00 and individual leaders/supervisors can apply for training, workshops, etc up to $5,000.00.  This is only for the remainder of this fiscal year.

We are now accepting submissions for the spring ALIGN Journal. Our fall Journal will be published and available this month

Mental Health First Aid Grant (MHFA):
Both ALIGN and the AFPA have had the Mental Health First Aid grants extended till March 2018 as there are still funds available. The planning committee met in June 6, 2017 to look at our learning’s from last year and begin planning for 2017-2018 year. We have made arrangements to have Kevin Campbell provide two full days of training to caregivers on the importance of “Family Finding” for the children in their care. One day will occur in Edmonton January 24th and Calgary January 23th. The committee has decided to charge a minimal fee to attend and subsidize child care this year.

A memo was sent out reminding agencies that this funding is only available till the end of March 2018 and to utilize the funds if they have staff that needs the training.

Submissions Being Accept Now!
ALIGN Research Journal:

The 2017 Fall ALIGN Journal is currently with the desk top publisher and will hopefully be on line by the end of September. A focused call for contributions is underway so that we can have an edition for the spring 2018

Register Now!
Health and Safety in the Child and Family Services Sector:

ALIGN continues to be a partner on the research team of the Healthy Workplaces for Helping Professions Project. Join us for the Healthy Workplace Conference Edmonton October 13, 2017  Graham Lowe author of “Creating Healthy Organizations” will be the key note speaker. A second voluntary survey is currently being completed by human services staff to allow for a comparison with the findings of the first survey results of 2 years ago.  The results of this research, surveys and training will be presented at the fall conference.

We met with a representative for the Ministry of Labor in the Partnership Unit in the spring who recommended ALIGN explore the possibility of a collaborative relationship with the Alberta Association for Safety Partnerships(AASP) as a Certifying Partner. Conversations with the ED of the AASP have occurred and the plan is to apply jointly for grant funding from the Ministry of Labor to provide interested agencies with a series of training sessions (referred to as “The Roadmap to COR”) to obtain a Certificate of Recognition. Concurrently we will meet with agencies who have successfully obtained their COR and see what we can learn from them to pass on to other agencies.

We have also begun researching information on the National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.  We think there is other work that can be done and agencies can benefit from that is not to the extreme of COR yet may help with WCB rates.  That will be developed over the next 6 months.

Opioid Strategy:
ALIGN has continued to sit on a working group with the Children’s Services Opioid strategy as it pertains to all caregivers (agency and provincial). Information sheets and a training manual have been developed and is currently being reviewed by ministry staff. Once approved, this information will be provided to all agencies and caregivers.

Child Intervention Practice Framework (CIPF):
Child Intervention Practice committee is presently reviewing how to create consistencies and best practice provincially through the below initiatives. This committee consists of Regional managers. ALIGN and the AFPA.
Also See Child Intervention Review Panel

Collaborative Service Delivery (CSD):
Recently through many different discussions it has become clear that there is some confusion among organizations regarding the understanding of the term Collaborative Services Delivery (CSD).  CSD is intended to be an approach in delivering services to Alberta Children and Families under the umbrella of the Child Intervention Practice Framework (CIPF). This approach is being achieved but limited to initiatives such as; the Foundation of Caregiver Support, CSD lead sites, Family Finding and Signs of Safety. Collaborative Service Delivery Leads Table are meeting to discuss future direction of the table.

Foundation of Caregiver Support (FCS):
The Committee is in the process of reviewing the recently released Review of literature with the focus on Aboriginal Peoples and Communities – Trauma, Child Development, Healing and Resilience. The expectation is that organizations in Alberta serving child, youth and families must be Trauma Informed along with understanding Child Brain Development and stress. This is the foundational work for the 101 training that will come out this upcoming year.

The definition of Trauma Informed Care has 4 common elements; Trauma Awareness, Emphasis on Safety, Rebuild Control for person served and the approach is Strength Based. There are many ways for Organizations and their programs to make sure they are meeting these common elements in all the work they do.

Provincial Trauma Training Group
Presently, there is a small Provincial Trauma training working group-Sheldon Kennedy Advocacy Care Centre, ALIGN, Palix Foundation and Children Services are working on sharing approaches for knowledge immobilization and how to best support embedding it into practice across the Province.  There is an environmental scan of what types of Trauma Informed Training   are currently happening across sectors, and ministries in Alberta with hopes to develop a training navigation resource.

Save The Date!
Family Finding:

Children Services will be bringing Kevin Campbell the Family Finding trainer across the province in 2018, to provide a 4 day boot-camps again and mentoring to help build provincial capacity. We are currently discussing how to bring youth and lifelong networks to Alberta with Kevin. Kevin will also be facilitating 2 workshops at the ALIGN annual conference in January and  will also be be providing 2 – 1-day workshops for Caregivers in Edmonton January 24th and Calgary January 23th.  Family Finding is an excellent approach to bringing Trauma Informed knowledge into practice, aligning with the Signs of Safety and building resiliency in children through building lifelong networks.

Signs of Safety Working Group:
Signs of Safety working group.  Children Services has implemented Signs of Safety 2-day Provincial Delegation training. The working group is looking at how to implement a plan that insures all current CS staff also receive the 2-day Provincial training, whether or not they have had previous training in the past. This is to ensure everyone has received the same provincial specific training.  A 1-day training has been developed for agency partners and caregivers. The committee is in the process of developing a plan to offer the training provincially

Early Intervention – Prevention and Early Intervention Framework:
ALIGN has recently had discussions with the Ministry about agency input in to the refresh of the Prevention and Early Intervention Prevention Framework.

ALIGN Indigenous Advisory Group:
The ALIGN Indigenous Advisory Group reconvened in the Fall of 2016 in order to gain some guidance in planning for the upcoming year. Some of the current recommendations that we are working on are:

  • It was suggested that we convene a circle of government decision makers and others to share what is being done in the research and community sectors.
  • To bring together a group who has a strong understanding of Trauma and Inter-Generational Trauma to help guide the next step process.
  • A lot of Agencies have found ways that work for families and we should help highlight these approaches.

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Indigenous Thought Leader Symposium
ALIGN has been busy  coordinating an Indigenous Thought Leader Symposium  that will be held for Children and Family Serving organizations Leadership on October 23, 2017 at the Fantasyland Hotel in Edmonton. The day will highlight Alberta Indigenous Thought leaders and Knowledge Keepers and how to move knowledge into policy and service delivery. The Indigenous Thought Leader Symposium is intended to enhance indigenous innovations and relationships in child intervention service delivery. Starting in Ceremony, selected Elders, advisors, and service providers will share Indigenous teachings and current practices in work with Indigenous children, families, and individuals. The presentations will showcase specific culturally-based approaches to practice and ceremony with indigenous service users. The day will include teachings from highly respected elders and knowledge keepers in Alberta. Various Alberta-based programs providing culturally appropriate and effective services will be highlighted. The outcome will be that participants will have an opportunity to explore how they can utilize the guidelines and principles in policy development and service delivery. This full day event will be held in ceremony and highlight cultural practices.

Child Intervention Practice Committee:
ALIGN sits at the CI Practice committee which is presently reviewing how to create consistencies and best practice around Cultural planning.

Elder Capacity Pilot
ALIGN sponsored 3 Elders to attend an Elder Capacity Building pilot and hosted 20 participants at a Cultural Solutions 201 session April 2017 through a grant from Children Services and is in continue discussions to help further the knowledge and practice capacity in these areas. The Purpose of the Elder Capacity Building Pilot is to build elders capacity in urban and rural First Nation settings, who are working with children and families who are at risk of being involved in the Child Intervention system, either through the Ministry of Child and Families or through contracted agencies in Alberta.

Youth in Care Mentoring (YIC) and Alberta Mentoring Partnership (AMP)
A three-year commitment has been made to the agencies that are piloting Youth in Care Mentoring.  We are currently working on documenting a service delivery model.  There has been an updated literature review completed and the pilots are working with the advisory group to look at consist parts of the delivery and what it takes to offer this program area

Child Welfare League of Canada (CWLC)
ALIGN continues to sit on the CWLC Board.  The most recent activity is the National Forum on infant, child mental health in Calgary the first week of October.

Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD)
ALIGN has been working with the regional directors and agencies to get some consistency in services delivery and contracting.  Recently the minimum wage increases have been of concern.  I believe the government will be making announcements shortly on how to help with this shortfall.  FSCD children being in group care is also an area we are exploring to ensure that those children get the right services and the agencies are clear about the mandate with FSCD children and how to work with their families.

 

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