Hard to say goodbye

Hard to say goodbye

Posted by on May 23, 2019 in Whats-new | 1 comment

For Ranch Ehrlo Treatment Foster Care (TFC) parents Noël and Tony Matchett, there is no experience like that of being part of this unique program. And it is hard to say goodbye to it.

TFC is a dynamic family-based program for children whose needs require intensive care and treatment outside of their own homes. The program provides homes to children, ages 6 to 15, who require a more intensive level of care than traditional foster care, but less restrictive than residential treatment. The program is not designed to provide long-term foster service and promotes family reunification whenever possible.

Noël and Tony Matchett

Noël and Tony Matchett

For a year, Noël and Tony, who have three biological children of their own, fostered an 11-year-old boy with complex medical needs.  To begin with, there were many hurdles to overcome.

“When you have an established home life with a pecking order between the kids, throwing in an older child disrupts the balance of things,” Tony explained. “The equilibrium is off in the beginning.”

But the Matchetts – including their children – adjusted, and Noël and Tony credit the program for teaching their biological children things that can’t be learned anywhere else.

“I think having a kid come into your home puts to test the kind of things you tried to instill in your children,” Noël added. “One of the things we instilled is that we do everything as a family so to see them jump right into learning about diabetes, and carb counting and reading labels was cute.”

The program’s resources and supports – including manager Lisa Neill and the caseworkers – as well as the close-knit relationship with other families in the TFC, were extremely helpful for Noël and Tony.

“The program has that family feel. The (staff) know my kids better than some people in my family because they come into your home once a week. They see them day in and day out. You get close to them, closer then a co-worker,” Noël said. “They also notice behaviours, offer suggestions of where it may be coming from, and give suggestions to try and implement solutions.”

Throughout the course of the year, Noël and Tony saw the youth they fostered grow in many ways.

“Being able to watch him go through a blow out, or something hard that a typical 11-year-old shouldn’t have to do, and come through it and be able to say, ‘yeah, that sucked’, or ‘sorry I did that’ – coming full circle through that is nice,” Tony said.

As Noël and Tony prepare to move to BC, they are looking into other fostering options in their new home, but they recognize that it will be a different experience than that of the Ranch’s Treatment Foster Care program.

“The TFC was definitely the hardest thing we’ve ever had to leave,” Tony said.

“There is nothing like this program,” said Noël. “If you feel called to fostering, there is nothing like doing it with other people that are just as called to do it. You really want to be a part of an organization where everyone is all in. I feel like that is what the Ranch is, people who have dedicated their careers, in and out to helping these kids.”

“Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, Ranch Ehrlo is the best place. So far it’s hard to find anything that even comes close,” Tony concluded.

If you are interested in being a foster treatment parent, apply here.

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4th annual powwow

4th annual powwow

Posted by on May 18, 2019 in Whats-new | 2 comments

Our 4th annual powwow will take place August 29th on the Pilot Butte campus. It is a place to join in celebration through dancing, singing, visiting, renewing old friendships, and making new ones while honour the culture of our Indigenous clientele, staff, and community partners.

Once again, our powwow will be competitive style – cash prizes will be given out to the top dancers in each age group/dance category. We will also be hosting a family-style carnival and will be providing a hamburger supper free of charge. (A canteen will be available throughout the day, and popcorn and snow cone stations will be available to round out the selection.)

Timeline – August 29, 2019 (all events will take place on the Pilot Butte campus):

  • Feast 9:30 a.m. (Schaller school)
  • Grand entry is at 1 p.m.
  • Family Carnival 2 p.m. (we also have bingo, snow cones, popcorn, candy floss)
  • Supper break at 5 p.m.- this is a free hamburger supper
  • Closing ceremonies at 7 p.m.

Thank you to our sponsors

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, contact Trudy Bosch.

Event sponsors

   SGI  Welldone

Drummer/dancer sponsors

   Enbridge  

Canteen sponsors

         
 Ledcor      

Family carnival sponsors

   BBK servicemaster

Print sponsor

 Signature Printit Centres
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Journey to the 3-mile race

Journey to the 3-mile race

Posted by on May 9, 2019 in Our blog | 3 comments

Guest blog by Tandi van Tol, caseworker at Jewison House

At Jewison House, we are taking full advantage of implementing CARE principles in our sequential planning leading to the annual 3-mile race. CARE, Children And Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change, was developed by Cornell University to improve services for people in care. 

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Coming out the other side

Coming out the other side

Posted by on May 6, 2019 in Whats-new | 0 comments

Kelly Ettagiak came a long way to heal her family.

Kelly and her three children made the journey from the Northwest Territories to Regina in hopes that the Family Treatment Program (FTP) would be able to help them.

“I really had no idea of what to expect at the beginning, but social services said I had to do something, or they would take my kids,” she explained bluntly.

“Something” turned out to be 17 months in Ranch Ehrlo’s Family Treatment Program.

Kelly and kids

Kelly and two of her children – photo courtesy of CBC Nichole Huck

FTP is an in-home service that works to either prevent the placement of children out of their home or to assist families to unite after having a child in care.

Before coming to Regina, Kelly had a conference call with FTP director Patti Petrucka who explained the program set up – she and her children would have their own home, and staff would work with them to set and achieve goals, both personal and family-related.

“The program is tailored to your family’s specific needs, instead of just being a set program that’s the same for everyone,” Kelly said.

Still, the first days in the program were lonely.

“I felt isolated because I was put in a new city and a new home, and I didn’t know anyone.”

It was also difficult to let the staff into her family.

She explained, “It was a long hard process, but the workers helped me. At first, I was like, ‘who are you to tell me what to do with my kid’. It took a long time to realize that they were trying to help me.”

Kelly soon adjusted, and with the help of her FTP therapist Rikki Gusway, emerged herself fully in all the program had to offer. She participated in all the therapeutic groups offered by the FTP and dove headfirst into supporting her children at school and daycare.

“Kelly’s desire for adventure, spontaneity, and fun made tough moments in treatment much smoother, as she was able to self reflect and come up with creative but possible solutions,” said Rikki.

Working together, Kelly and the FTP staff identified her strong skills in organization, housekeeping/cleaning, and leadership. Keeping her strengths in mind, as her time in the program drew to a close, Kelly was provided with employment opportunities within the program and at Ehrlo Sport Venture. She was instrumental in helping set up new FTP homes in the communities of Moose Jaw and Fort Qu’Appelle.

Kelly was officially discharged from the Family Treatment Program in mid-April but continues to live in Regina, close to the house where she and her children lived for the duration of their time in the FTP. Her mother made the move down to Regina to be closer, and the family is slowly adapting to life beyond the FTP.

“Life without Kelly for me has certainly been an adjustment. She reaffirmed for me as a therapist the work we are doing is real, raw, and so important. At the FTP we get to do heart work. Heart work is hard work, but heart work is why we choose to do what we do,” explained Rikki.

For new families in the program, Kelly has simple advice: “You have to stick through it. It is lonely. It’s going to be hard. You are going to want to quit – but it is worth it. What better life to have than a successful one, with your children?”

“Kelly always provided me with the hope that the treatment process is possible for all families,” Rikki concluded.

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CARE in housing

CARE in housing

Posted by on Apr 30, 2019 in Whats-new | 0 comments

All Ranch Ehrlo employees – from direct care workers to administration and everywhere in between – have or will take CARE training. CARE, Children And Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change, was developed by Cornell University to improve services for people in care. Though we all understand the importance of the CARE principles, for those of us who are not direct care workers, opportunities to directly apply those principles are less common.

Earlier this month, Ehrlo Housing employee Terry-Lynn Triffo received a call about a tenant who was locked out of their apartment.

Ehrlo Housing operates as part of Ranch Ehrlo Society’s community services and its mandate is to provide affordable housing to low-income families, individuals with chronic mental health conditions, and young people transitioning from care.

“I’m not required to respond to calls that occur in my off hours that aren’t emergencies, but I saw it as an opportunity to meet a new tenant, so I went,” Terry-Lynn said. Relationship building is one of six CARE principles.

When Terry-Lynn arrived, a young girl – Terry-Lynn estimated her to be around 9 or 10 – was the one who was unable to get into the apartment through a miscommunication with her parent. Though she has no experience working with children in her role, Terry-Lynn adapted on the fly once she realized the mix up.

“Initially she said she would be okay because the daycare was right there, but when I explained to her that the daycare would eventually close and there would be no one around, she changed her mind and asked me to stay.”

Able to tell that the youth was scared in this environment – a new apartment, with no parent around – Terry-Lynn, who by then had unlocked the door and let the youth into the house, asked if she wanted some company while she waited for her mom to return.

“I asked her some questions; and tried to get information in a gentle way,” Terry-Lynn said. “I remembered what CARE training teaches us about listening and lowering our expectations, as well – so maybe we wouldn’t expect a nine or ten-year-old to be as frightened as she was, but because of CARE training, I knew meeting the youth where she was at and lowering those expectations to her developmental level was important.”

“We talked about her family a little, but mostly I tried to keep her calm and laughing,” Terry-Lynn explained. “It was more or less about making her feel safe.”

CARE teaches us that children need to be and feel safe in order to develop, grow, and heal from past traumas. While we may think of this as being solely applicable to times when children are in active treatment, Terry-Lynn’s interactions are proof that it extends to any time in a child’s life.

“Ultimately it ended up being a really good experience for both me and the youth,” Terry-Lynn said.

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