Tuesday September 02, 2014

EDITORIAL - Family Resource Centre a common sense idea


Governments in general take a lot of editorial heat through the years for the bad decisions they make.

We all can all think of a long list of questionable moves made by all three levels of government; federal, provincial and municipal, through the the years.

So when the government of Saskatchewan launches a pilot project that seems so ideally suited to community needs it should be a decision we applaud.

That is the case with the Family Resource Centre initiative being undertaken on a trial basis in three Saskatchewan cities — including Yorkton — with both start-up and operational funding supplied through the provincial Ministry of Education.

The concept of the centres is really one which seems so logical it surprises that it has taken the province until 2013 to come up with the idea of creating what are essentially a one-stop hub to family services within a community.

The Yorkton Resource Centre is being designed to be as diverse in its programming as the families it looks to serve (see story Page B1).

While there will be a social programming aspect, help for families who most need it based on circumstance, it will only be one facet of a facility hoping to be relevant to every family in the city.

There is an understanding that social standing and family income are not the defining factors when it comes to sometimes needing help when it comes to raising a family.

Any parent can have questions about how to help a baby with teething, or how to deal with a lack of sleep that parents can face with young children, and a hundred other issues large and small parents can need some support to deal with.

And when talking about families, it is not all about child care either. There can be need for help regarding housing, or how to do a will, or where to get help for an ageing parent.

While many support groups exist, it can be a bit of a maze for already distraught family members to manoeuvre through when already facing a stressful situation. Having a central place, like the Family Resource Centre, where people can go for some help in finding the support they need speaks to supporting the overall wellness of a community.

The Yorkton Centre sees the purview of its services being wider ranging than simply helping families in times of stress.

Organizers say they want programming to reflect family needs in Yorkton, and that means they will be asking families visiting the Centre to tell them what they would like to see.

That range of services could certainly include education and personal development.

When the regional college system was first launched decades ago, personal development for adults was a large part of their mandate. The college system evolved away from providing classes in watercolour art, ethnic cooking, or learning heritage skills such as crocheting and decoy carving.

The new centre is open to taking on that role if people in the community are interested.

As a venue for such classes the centre would be an ideal location as it strives to be the hub of family activities it envisions.

So the province has come up with an idea which seems too ‘common sense’ to fail.

That means that following the 18-month trial run, reporting and evaluation, the province is likely to have a winner in terms of programming. At that point the question is how many centres make sense in the province. One would assume at a minimum one in each city, and the one trial centre in Sandy Bay is already in a small community. Does the province have the dollars to grow the family centre concept across the province, and to fund operations in the years ahead?

Given the apparent broad potential of the centres, the province needs to have a plan which grows the program, or it will be a great idea lost.



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