ALIGN Association of Community Services is providing this information to all candidates in the upcoming Alberta election.
200,000 vulnerable children and families need you to speak up!
ALIGN wants to know ... will you use your voice to keep Alberta's most vulnerable children and families on the Government's radar?
ALIGN Association of Community Services' members live and work in your community. They are the professionals who support children and families who have needs - needs that will not be resolved during a four-year election cycle. Many of these children live in group homes, foster care or kinship care.Still others are families desperately in need of intensive, specialized supports to stay together and function in the community they call home.

ALIGN is reaching out to you on behalf of these Albertans. They need your voice in government.
Three ways your voice can help.

  1. Speak up for sustainable funding for community services.
  2. Speak up in support of keeping services in communities.
  3. Speak up continuing with the public action plan for a stronger, safer child intervention system and support to families with children with disabilities.
Speak up for sustainable funding for community services.
The Government of Alberta needs to fix the way it determines the amount of funding it provides to community agencies who deliver vital services to Alberta’s most vulnerable children and families. Funding should be indexed and grow as standards increase and operational costs rise.
CAROL'S STORY - vital services require sustained funding.
Carol is single, unemployed, 32 and has been through many failed and abusive relationships. She came to therapy after a friend committed suicide in her apartment building. She was having terrible nightmares after she helped the landlord clean up the blood from the carpet even though it was horrible because she “deserved to be punished.”
In exploring why she felt that way, her Therapist discovered that Carol had been sexually abused by her step-father from the time she was a little girl of 7 until the age of 14. Carol had never talked about the abuse to anyone until she went to The Family Centre, a community-based agency in Edmonton, following her friend's suicide.

Carol felt guilty and ashamed and thought everyone knew. He took lots of pictures of her. She felt responsible because she did what he told her and never said anything. She didn’t realize that she was just a little girl, only 7 years old; a victim who had been groomed by a perpetrator who stole her childhood.

Through therapy, Carol is now literally “opening the box.” She has a box with 40 or 50 pictures her step-father took of her that she had never looked at. Looking at those pictures of a helpless, unhappy little girl is helping her to understand that she was not responsible for what happened to her. She is now working toward a better future for herself who loves herself and deserves to be respected.

Carol is someone who could not afford the pay for counselling. Free accessible services are critical for many Albertans.
Speak up in support of keeping services in communities.
Vulnerable children and families need a commitment from the Government of Alberta to keep support services close to home. Community-based service delivery also means that more families are receiving support and treatment for mental health and addiction issues.
ALICIA'S STORY - community-based suicide support saves a life.
Alicia was 24 years old and wanted to die. She swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills and lay unconscious in her apartment for several hours before her boyfriend found her. She was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
She spent two weeks recovering in hospital but did not receive any mental health treatment. While she was there, she learned from other suicide survivors that if she had used alcohol with the sleeping pills her suicide would have been completed. She felt she was worthless and that life was too hard, too painful, and not worth living. She still wanted to die.

When she was released, her boyfriend took her to a community agency for help. Alicia had never had counselling before, but was willing to talk to a Therapist and tell her story despite feeling that it would not help.

Through the use of the Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (ACE), the Therapist learned that Alicia had grown up in poverty and had been physically and sexually abused by an alcoholic father.

In counselling, the Therapist helped Alicia make the connection between her childhood trauma and her present despair. She learned that what had happened to her was not her fault. This was the beginning of a healing process that has gone on for over a year now. There have been lots of ups and downs, and some scary times when disappointments have made her question the value of life, but she is still engaged. Alicia is convinced that without the support of her Therapist she would be dead.
Speak up for continuing with the public action plan for a stronger, safer child intervention system and support to families with children with disabilities.
Service providers and community agencies are key to providing the needed supports identified in the 26 recommendations of an all-party, year-long review of the child intervention system in Alberta. The findings of A Stronger, Safer Tomorrow: A Public Action Plan for the Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention‘s Final Recommendations should continue to guide the evolution of child intervention in Alberta.
ADA'S STORY - trauma therapy through a cultural lens.
When Ada (not her real name) came to Closer to Home Community Services, she didn’t understand how deeply the trauma from her past and present was affecting her life. She had experienced neglect and abuse as a child, and now she was living with domestic violence. As they witnessed the abuse, her kids were also experiencing trauma, and they were at risk of being removed from the home.
The first priority was getting Ada and her kids into a safe situation. Once that was achieved, staff worked closely with Ada to help her understand how her trauma had impacted her life, and how her children’s trauma played a role in some of their challenging behaviours. She realized that her kids were reacting to triggers associated with the trauma, and they began developing plans and integrating strategies to work through the family’s experiences.

With Ada’s hard work and the positive guidance and patience of agency staff, she learned about coping strategies, began developing safety plans, improved her parenting skills and learned about other helpful resources in her community.

Today, Ada and her kids are safe, happy, and continuing to work through their experiences to live beyond the trauma. Read the complete story.
Will you use your voice to start these conversations?
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