Ranch Ehrlo Society is helping to bring together a family of 10 in its Family Treatment Program (FTP). The family is headed by Alanna and Trenton who have spent the past several months working on themselves and their family to reunite with their eight children, ranging in age from 11 to three.
FTP priority is preserving families by providing a myriad of treatments that are created for each individual family member, and the family as a whole. A family is given a residence to call home for the duration of treatment, which typically lasts from six to 12 months.
Russ Parr, a family preservation therapist in the program has only worked with the family for a short time but understands the complexities of working with a large household and all the individual personalities.
Russ said, “We’re usually the families’ last resort. Our priority is keeping families together to heal historical trauma, treat diverse physical and mental health concerns, and reunite families who may have been separated due to a variety of reasons.”
Russ added, “Parents also must commit to keeping their families together by doing whatever it takes to heal for their children so they can provide their kids with a better life and opportunities they didn’t have due to their traumatic experiences.”
Participants in the program also engage in fun activities with their family workers to promote positive attachment otherwise known as bonding. Activities are designed for each family based on their interests.
Garry Yee, a family worker said, “We’ve found that baseball and hockey can be quite successful in positive engagement. Many of our families, especially the youth, love any activity that can be messy and fun.”
In fact, hockey proved so popular that Trenton decided to give back and volunteer with the Ehrlo Sport Venture Outdoor Hockey League.
“I’ve never coached before, but I played in the league in my youth as a goalie. Two of my children are really enjoying playing in the league now. I’ve never volunteered before, but I’m having a great time. It’s nice to be able to give back,” he explained.
Trenton and Alanna explained that in the program they have access to many different supports that weren’t available in their home community. Having these supports has taken the weight off their shoulders and has allowed them to focus on our family and healing.
Oftentimes families are apprehensive or frightened to enter the program. They have issues with trust, especially trusting organizations.
Trenton elaborated, “I didn’t know what to expect when we entered the FTP. Everything was new, and I was afraid. We were judged harshly in our home community, and our parenting choices were always criticized. I was afraid the same thing would happen in this program. I have realized there was nothing to be scared of, as the Ranch has been there for us every step of the way. They have opened my eyes to a whole new way of life.”
Alanna added, “Our children have been able to forge bonds with the workers that they never would have with anyone at home. We can trust the staff members and allow them to forge connections with our children.”
The couple has been posting their progress and experiences on social media and people have been supportive of our journey.
Once they finish the program, the family has plans to stay in Regina and continue to access supports. Alanna has decided to go back to school to become a counsellor. Trenton is looking forward to where this journey will take his family.
“We would like to thank Ranch Ehrlo for giving us this opportunity, and we are looking forward to the future. If there are any families experiencing difficulties, we highly recommend Ranch Ehrlo Society’s Family Treatment Program,” the couple commented. “Once we made the decision to do whatever we had to do to keep our family together, the rest was easy.”