in home support (parental support)
Connections’ in-home support and education ensure that parents are able to meet their own needs as well as the needs of their children.
This support is tailored to the unique learning style of each parent and is hands-on, skills-focused, strengths-based and long-term. Each of these factors is shown in the research to increase a parent’s ability to be successful.
- Teaches independent living skills (self-care, home management, and budgeting, etc.) to contribute to maintaining a stable home
- Teaches parenting skills and maintaining a safe home environment for their children and all family members
- Improves understanding of childhood (ages and stages) development
- Fosters nurturing interactions and positive communication
- Increases problem-solving
- Supports the individual in accessing the appropriate community services, including accompanying them to medical, educational, and legal appointments
"The most critical predictor is the presence of suitable social and other supports that are matched as closely as possible to the needs of the parent including their learning style and learning capacity."
"To some extent, the greater the support available, the greater the capacity to parent."
 Tymchuk, A. (1992). Predicting adequacy of parenting by people with mental retardation. Child Abuse Neglect, 16, 165 – 78.  Cotson, D.; Friend, J.; Hollins, S. & James, H. (2000). Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families. London: Stationary Office.
Connecting a family to In-Home support
When a family or someone involved with that family recognizes a parent’s cognitive challenges are limiting their ability to manage, a call can be made to Connections to refer the family for support.
Connections’ In-Home support program is voluntary and, in fact, evidence shows that parents who need help to parent are more successful when they recognize and embrace their need for support.
Here is how Connections approaches In-Home support:
1. Bringing a family into service means that we are able to fund their supports (most often through Child and Family Services or Persons with Developmental Disabilities - Alberta Government agencies) and that we have an In-Home Team Member who we think will be a good match and with capacity to add a family onto their caseload.
We typically have a waiting list (referring agencies should sign up for our newsletter for the most up-to-date information) however, we prioritize people by urgency of the need (pregnant or newborn) and available funding.
2. The supports start in earnest with a meeting including the family, Connections In-Home Program Director, and the Team member who will support the family.
3. The family has an opportunity to introduce themselves and ‘see the eyes’ of their Connections supporter. They also review the best times to meet, how they will arrange and confirm meetings, and other expectations and preferences for support and building a relationship.
4. Connections’ In-Home team member continues to meet with the family from one to three times a week, based on the family’s situation, urgency of support needs and the funding parameters.
5. In-Home meetings with Connections and the family may continue for a few weeks while the family builds trust and get to know Connections. As soon as comfortable, specific goals will be identified and the parent and Connections In-Home team member will start to work to build parenting skills and household management capacity.
6. Connections' In-Home team member will offer a range of teaching tools and resources, identify community programs or supports that may be applicable and help the family link with resources. We encourage families to join in Connections' family events and workshops to meet other Connections families and staff. This helps build the family’s resilience.
7. Connections team members have backgrounds in social work and disability expertise. They also observe for children's basic needs and safety with every visit. If necessary, we will contact Child and Family Services Intervention.
8. In-Home support can continue for as long as a family wants Connections to be involved. Often families have long periods of stability and visits are less frequent. But an established, trusting relationship makes it comfortable for the family to reach out if a crisis arises.
9. Connections’ In-Home support is dynamic and responsive – families’ needs change as children reach new stages, a new baby is born – as life happens! We evaluate each quarter how our families are doing and how well our support is working. To re-invigorate progress, we can create new team member-family matches and consult the rest of the team for recommendations and expertise. We continually add and change group program elements based on family interests and needs.