Family & Children's Services of Renfrew County - Annual Report 2016-2017

"You cared about me. You came to see me the day I left and hugged me good bye. You said that I would succeed. You told me I could email, text, or call anytime. And I did. Most of all you believed in me. I want to thank you for ALL you have done for me. Without you I would have been afraid. But because of you I can now succeed and live in my new city."

Client involved with Developmental Services

Looking back on 2016-2017 brings up many feelings: love and compassion for the children, youth, adults and families we support, sincere gratitude for the foster families, volunteers, donors and sponsors who uphold our organization, and tremendous respect for the Board of Directors and all staff who we have the pleasure of working closely with each and every day.

You have made a difference in making this another year closer to our ultimate goals of ensuring that we provide excellent service in collaboration with community partners and supported by skilled and knowledgeable teams of professionals.

We feel proud to live in a community and work in an organization that cares for its members and gives selflessly through hard work and compassion. Our five year strategic plan is expiring at the end of June 2017 and we have been on a journey to develop and rejuvenate our commitment to the people we serve and create a pathway to excellence for the next five years.

Staying true to the overall goals and objectives has been no mean feat – there has been anything but stability in the child welfare, developmental services, early years and supervised access and exchange sectors, in addition to the economic and political environments. Our organization needed to be adaptable and to take on new perspectives, many with an element of risk. However, we have been successful in accomplishing the majority of the goals set in 2011, and made substantial progress in others.

We developed a supervision model, provided ongoing training opportunities for all staff, enhanced our existing office space, and built the new office in the Town of Renfrew. We have established an employee specific recognition event, established succession plan, and focused on employee wellness. 

In addition, we completed needs assessment and provided leadership in creating several new services in the community, developed internal, external and crisis communication plans, as well as a disaster recovery plan and created a Quality Assurance and Human Resources specific position.

Moreover, we implemented a strength based service model, increased permanency options and family supports and improved in service delivery and compliance with standards in all our programs.

As we look into the future, the words of Anne Lamont come to mind "Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining". It is our hope that FCSRC becomes a strong ally to all citizens of Renfrew County, an organization that is known for its strength in caring, its confidence in service provision and compassion for all.

Let your light shine!

Arijana Haramincic
Executive Director

Cindy Simpson
Board Chair

Arijana Haramincic and Cindy Simpson

"My kids love going to the early years centre for drop in and for the parties and events. All the staff are so friendly and welcoming, they make the kids feel special and important each visit. It’s also a great place to meet other parents while the kids learn to socialize with others."

Parent involved in the Early Years Program

Fund Activity
Renenue Net Cost of All Services
Child Welfare 11,031,502 13,798,611
Developmental Services 9,387,868 9,151,172
Early Years 628,934 656,424
Supervised Access 211,917 211,867
Preparation for Independence 123,435 123,368
Outreach Program 86,654 86,654
Total 24,470,310 24,028,096

Safe Shelter for Youth has been in operation for the past 5 years as a partnership between Columbus House (Pembroke) Inc., Family and Children’s Services of Renfrew County, Renfrew County United Way, and The Phoenix Centre for Children and Families. The program supports homeless youth or at risk of becoming homeless youth between the ages of 16 – 21. The generous support from the community, United Way and Ontario Trillium has made it sustainable. It is a true grass roots, youth centered program, removing barriers for youth at risk of homelessness.

We continue on our journey in building our relationships with our First Nations, Inuit, and Métis (FNIM) Peoples. The Renfrew County Cultural Support Committee has been developed with our staff and community members to establish strategies that helps identify, educate and provide resources to families and children that we work with. We are also a partner in the Anishaanabe Cultural Circle, which promotes aboriginal teaching and culture to those in attendance, and help organize the Aboriginal Day. The Algonquins of Pikwakanagan Prevention Services, over the past year, have visited our staff team meetings to review the Protocol Agreement, in order to work in a spirit of collaboration and partnership. The agency is committed to providing services in a manner that acknowledges history and that respects the culture and traditions of the FNIM families.

On February 20, 2017, skating, hot dogs, balloons and face painting set the tone at the agency’s Ice Skating activity that took place at the Nick Smith Centre in Arnprior, and the Rotary Park in Pembroke.

Jayden A

Jayden will be completing high school June of this year, and has aspirations of continuing her academic pursuits. She has yet to decide if she will enroll in University (in Kinesiology and Health Science, Bachelor of Physical Education or Bachelor of Arts Psychology) or College (Pre-Science Program: Practical Nursing and Paramedic). She is a strong and capable young woman who values her education and who also contributes to her community and to the well-being of others.

Rachel C

Rachel has successfully earned both a Human Service Foundations Certificate and Social Service Worker Diploma. Rachel has been accepted to Carelton University and will begin studies in September 2017 working towards an Honours of Psychology degree. We are very proud of Rachel and want to continue providing supports in her next academic pursuit at Carleton.

Autum T

Autum initially was planning to attend Algonquin College in Pembroke for the Animal Science Diploma Program in September 2016, however she has since changed her program to General Arts. Autum is a contentious student who works hard to reach her potential. She has excellent supports and guidance to assist with planning for short and long term academic goals.

The Ontario Early Years System in Renfrew Nipissing Pembroke continues to grow. We have more families than ever accessing our Play and Learn Drop-Ins. Parents/caregivers come to participate in fun and family friendly activities, to get information and support and to meet other families. Our school readiness programs are one of the most popular programs that we deliver. We offer a Dad and Me evening program (10 sessions) where we have 40 dads and children come together to have supper and play. We see an increased need for parents who require information, knowledge and access to services for their child. Keeping updated on the latest research, community and regional services and maintaining our strong partnerships is an important aspect of the work we do in supporting families. Our ongoing partnership with the Renfrew County and District Health Unit’s Public Health Nurses have strengthened our ability to serve and support families. We continue to focus on our key principles: child and family centered, welcoming, high quality, inclusive, integrated and community-led. We recognize that parents are their child’s first educator and it is our hope to support parents/caregivers to enhance the parent-child relationship to lead to positive child, family and community experiences.

Jubilee Place continues to meet the increasing demands of families with young children who require support. The Baby Cupboard continues to help families who are in need of necessary baby items. We are grateful to the ongoing work of our Advisory Group who raise money and gather supplies each year to support the work at Jubilee. Parent Education and workshops designed to suit the needs of families continue to be in high demand. It has been well established that parent-child interactions in early life form the foundation for a child’s social and emotional development and we continue to hear about research that mental health issues often have their roots in early childhood. The work that is done through the tremendous partnership with Public Health Nurses, Phoenix Centre, and Bernadette McCann House to support parents to be supportive, attentive and a sensitive care-giver plays an important role in protecting young children from the harmful effects of stress. We will continue to focus on building strong, positive parent-child attachment relationships and increasing parenting skills with our families.

Both at agency and regional level we continue to develop relationships with our francophone community and we are actively developing strategies to improve our active offer of French Language Services. Our internal FLS committee supports the development of Francophone culture within the organization, and continues to focus on ensuring quality service to our Francophone community. A training curriculum was developed by the regional committee, and our staff attended the Building Better French Language Services training which was facilitated by our consultant. The training increased their understanding of their responsibilities regarding the active offer of French language services compliance with active offer standards as well as developing positive attitudes towards an active offer of FLS.

Family Visitation and Exchange Services enables children to maintain connections with parents that they are not living with by offering a safe, neutral place to visit while protecting the physical and emotional safety of the children and their families, including the safety of parents who have been victims of domestic violence. Supervised access centres provide a setting where visits and exchanges can take place under the supervision of trained staff and volunteers. In the past year numbers have remained steady through this fiscal year. We continue to innovate the way that we do business ensuring that all who seek our help receive service in a timely matter.

"I would like to express my gratitude for the services you offered to my family in a very difficult time. The children had positive experiences with their visits at the center and the staff normalized the experience for them by being welcoming and trustworthy."

Parent involved in the Supervised Access Program

Staff who reached a milestone of 10, 20, 25 or 35 years of service were honored by their fellow colleagues in a ceremony full of fellowship, anecdotes and appreciation for their long term work in the organization. At the ceremony, which took place on January 23, 2017, 11 staff members were congratulated for their commitment to their work and received accolades from other staff members highlighting their contributions to the community, as well as the unique characteristics that make them valuable and important for service delivery.

The Developmental Services Division has been an active participant in the Provincial and County Wide Special Needs Strategy Planning Group. This Group is composed of Health, Education and Social Service Providers as well as Parents and Caregivers of children diagnosed with broad levels of Special Needs. The Group met for over two and a half years to develop a Strategy for Renfrew County that was compliant with the directions of our Government. In February 2017 Family and Children’s Services of Renfrew County was confirmed as the “Coordination Agency” for Service Planning Coordination in Renfrew County. The Service Planning Coordinator is attached to the Case Management Services Team of the Developmental Services Division and is mandated to work with children and families who have complex needs requiring the use of multiple services. Each child and family will have access to planning which supports their unique circumstances while developing a single plan of service which involves all involved service providers. This is a new service which is implementing throughout Ontario, and we are pleased to provide our community with this service and look forward to feedback as it is implemented.

The Parents Anonymous® program is an evidence-based family strengthening program for any family seeking help and support, or is involved in child welfare, mental health, substance abuse, early childhood, schools, domestic violence, health care and justice systems given the issues faced by themselves and their children and youth. Since its first establishment in the agency two years ago, we have now become accredited as Parents Anonymous® of Renfrew County, and hold weekly, parent-led support groups. Parenting struggles and successes, problems and solutions are shared in a safe and supportive atmosphere, as well trained Children and Youth Group Facilitators deliver a structured program to enhance self-esteem, build resilience, protective factors, and ensure the social and emotional development and well-being of children and youth ages 0-18 who may have mental health or other challenges.

The Kumon program continues to support the academic success of the children of Renfrew County. The Kumon method is offered in both Math and Reading to empower children to become confident learners. We are attempting to grow our numbers by increasing the public awareness of the availability of this quality program to the area.

"I would like to express my gratitude for the services you offered to my family in a very difficult time. The children had positive experiences with their visits at the center and the staff normalized the experience for them by being welcoming and trustworthy?"