Family Empowerment Team
The goals of the Family Empowerment Team are:
- To assist mothers in building and maintaining appropriate healthcare for their children
- To assist mothers in obtaining treatment, maintaining recovery, and resolving issues in regards to substance abuse
- To prevent incidents of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in Stó:lō communities
Family Empowerment Workers provide assistance to clients for a maximum of three years. Some of the services they provide include assisting parents with: identifying personal goals; obtaining drug and/or alcohol treatment; choosing a family plan method; keeping children up to date with immunizations; connecting with service providers; transportation to appointments; resolving system service barriers; and, support regarding housing and child custody issues.
"I was born and raised in the Sto:lo Territory. I became pregnant with my one and only child at the age of 27 years old and was absolutely terrified. My upbringing was fairly stable but I did endure the effects of residential school throughout my life. This left me very scared with a huge lack of confidence when it came to the thought of parenting. At the time of conceiving, I struggled with addiction and a very toxic relationship. My mental health played a large role in my inability to live life with any sort of stability. Of course, my hopes were that if I had a child, my problems would go away and I would naturally evolve into a wonderful person/parent. Unfortunately, this was not my story. The traumas I had faced caused me to be very emotionally unavailable to my daughter, make poor health choices and have a very low tolerance to her typical baby behaviors. Quite often I did not know how to respond to her or problem solve properly...
I have been a very active member in the community and was quite aware of the programs available at the Sto:lo Service Agency and figured I had better access any support services that would assist me on my journey. I had been blessed with the Family Empowerment Team who provided the Growing Great Kids program. This provided me with the tools I needed to get through the day to day struggles of being a new mom. The mentor that worked with me came to my home, assisted me with anything I was struggling with from budgeting, home searching, communication and counselling. She was the liaison from myself to many other services available to mothers such as myself. Even having an experienced mother to hear my struggles, helped get me through the week. If the mentor could not directly provide what I needed, quite often she would find a resource that could. This program saved the relationship I have with my daughter today. I was given confidence and guidance from an experienced mother, a certified worker who then became a big part of our story. I will forever be grateful to the tools that were offered to a very lost mother such as myself. My prayers are that every mother has the opportunity to receive such a wonderful service. We all know there is no handbook that comes with being a parent but this program is a great guide and assists in building confidence in raising children in a happy, healthy environment. Today, my daughter is almost three years old and I still utilize the social and emotional development and communication tools that were shared. I am far from a perfect parent but I would like to think that I am a much better mother than I would have been without the wonderful support of this team."