SooToday.com has received the following letter from John Corboy, a former placement student with the Children's Aid Society family preservation program.
It's John's response to our coverage yesterday about the planned dismantling of the program.
*************************** As a former placement student in the family preservation program at the Children's Aid Society, I felt it was important to share my thoughts on the current cutbacks to the program.
I spent one year of my college placement in the program, working in community hubs, with families and in parenting and children's groups.
I was inspired by the caring attitudes that each worker had towards their clients and how much they genuinely tried to empower others to make positive changes.
I learned about the importance of early intervention, open communication and education.
I witnessed many clients speak openly and truthfully with family preservation workers about their goals, concerns and personal issues they were struggling with.
I was lucky enough to work with many children, teens and adults from various neighbourhoods throughout the city in the community hubs.
The community hubs offer accessible programming, focusing on various topics, including anger management, self esteem, parenting and more.
The hubs offer a safe place for people to drop in and visit, get information, interact in groups, while they also host craft groups, dances, outings and homework help for children.
Not only do they offer a wide variety of services, but they also help refer and link members of the neighbourhood to other helpful resources throughout our community.
My placement in the family preservation program allowed me to grow and mature as a professional, taught me the importance of being non-judgmental and helped me to realize how rewarding this field of work can be.
I know that the program did its best to run on a very limited budget and did quite well considering the numerous expenses.
I know that these workers are always thinking of ways to make things better for the clients they work with, and continuously advocating with the best interests of their clients in mind.
I just wanted to show my perspective of the program as a placement student, and I hope others will also speak up about the importance of family preservation.
Without the family preservation piece of the child protection system, we can expect to see the negative impact it has on the wellbeing of children and families locally.
Thank you, John Corboy
************************* Earlier SooToday.com coverage of this story