Family program has a rich history

Family program has a rich history

Posted by on Oct 17, 2018 in Whats-new | 0 comments

Ranch Ehrlo’s Family Treatment Program (FTP) is one of the most unique programs we offer. Serving 24 families, with a staffing contingent of 40, it’s one of our largest, as well.

But it wasn’t always this way.

Patti Petrucka

When the program began in 2006, it only served a handful of families. The office space was non-existent – current program director Patti Petrucka started as the manager and created training materials and had staffing meetings out of her home.

Even before that, the program was not an easy one to develop.

It started as an idea, sparked by Ranch Ehrlo Society’s current director of Quality Improvement, David Rivers’ thesis work on the effectiveness of intensive family preservation programs. Having previously worked at another residential treatment program, David had a deep understanding that once a child is removed from the family home and placed in care, there is always a great risk the family will not be reunified. This difficulty leads to an increased risk of homelessness for youth in care – once discharged, they often have nowhere to go.

David Rivers

David Rivers

David’s research brought him to Regina, where he asked to meet with Ranch Ehrlo founder, the late Geoff Pawson, to discuss the idea of Ranch Ehrlo developing a program to help keep families together and prevent out of home placements.

“They were very interested, but noted several challenges, including funding, for starting such a program,” David recalled. “The program would involve a fairly high start-up cost for homes and staffing, with no guarantee of referrals or revenues to support.”

David was hired at Ranch Ehrlo in 1997 and the idea of a family-based treatment program continued to be discussed, but it wouldn’t be put into action for nearly another decade. In the mid-2000s, David began developing proposals to secure the necessary start-up funding for the program and was ultimately successful in receiving over $150,000 through the federal Homelessness Initiative.

David added, “At the same time, we were looking at a variety of new ideas for improved family supports including family workshops, places for visiting families to stay, group homes with a family focus, and so forth.”

In 2006, the program officially began.

“When it started, the Ranch still wanted it to be modelled off of the residential programs,” Patti explained. “They wanted youth care workers, with shift work – it took a lot of work to get it to where it is. The vision was for it to be social workers delivering the services.”

“I  believed we needed people skilled in social work to be able to address the underlying issues that lent to the risks of children being removed from parental care,” she recalled.

“So, it continued to morph until the treatment was provided by therapists, who are all Registered Social Workers/Counsellors, who are trained in family work and have the theoretical perspectives and the models of clinical practice to be in the home with the families and working on individual and family based needs.”

actual past families
In addition to the therapists, the team of staff include family treatment workers, who come from diverse educational backgrounds and support the therapists and families in achieving their goals. Families are offered in-home support with whatever challenges they are facing – whether it be establishing bedtime routines, grocery shopping and budgeting, or something else entirely – and parents attend weekly programming outside of the home to tackle their own treatment needs, while their children are cared for by early childhood educators at the program’s child care program. Program staff also assist families connect with community services that can help them continue to succeed once their time in the program has concluded.

The program has expanded six times since it began in 2006 – from serving three families at a time, to spaces for five, nine, 12, 15 and finally its present caseload of 24.

Last year the program served 58 families and 64 per cent of those families reunified. Thirty-four children were reunified to parental care, and 17 were preserved.  In 2018 to date, 43 children have been reunified to their parents and 41 preserved in parental care.

“The family program remains unique. At this point, from the research and numerous presentations we have done, we have yet to find another agency delivering the unique services that Ranch Ehrlo offers through the FTP.  Families are referred from all over Canada to take part. A critical part of that is choice – the FTP is a voluntary program and does not accept court ordered placements,” Patti said.

“Families are here because they want to be here and they’re ready to be here,” Patti concluded.

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Deloitte and Sport Venture team up

Deloitte and Sport Venture team up

Posted by on Oct 8, 2018 in Whats-new | 0 comments

On October 12th, representatives from Deloitte will be coming to Ehrlo Sport Venture for their 12th annual Day of Impact.

“We are so excited and grateful to be working with Deloitte for their Day of Impact. Sport Venture is powered by volunteers and working with Deloitte will give us an opportunity to tackle a few bigger projects that will have a great impact on Sport Venture and the community,” said Amanda McConnell, Sport Venture manager.

Twenty volunteers from Deloitte will be coming to help out. Ten will be working on sprucing up the Sport Venture location with landscaping, flower planting, and prepping a wall for a mural in the spring.

Ten others will be helping to facilitate a sport equipment giveaway at the mamaweyatitan centre from 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. From hockey equipment to golf clubs, a little bit of everything will be available.

Regarding the equipment drive, Amanda stated, “We have been pleasantly overwhelmed with equipment and would like to see it find a good home in the community.”

“We are truly grateful for the extra support and cannot wait to work together,” she concluded.

If you are in the market for some gently used sport equipment, we invite you to come down to the mamaweyatitan centre on October 12th.

Impact Day is an annual one-day celebration of Deloitte’s year-round commitment to drive meaningful change in the local communities. Thousands of Deloitte professionals across the world invest their time and commitment to help make an impact on that particular day.

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Ranch Ehrlo at night

Ranch Ehrlo at night

Posted by on Oct 5, 2018 in Our blog | 1 comment

Guest blog by Patrick Parker, night float manager

I am night float manager at Ranch Ehrlo. Our team is eight employees who work from 11:30 pm. to 9 a.m. on school days, 10 a.m. on non-school days. Working at night has its own challenges and rewards.

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Yarn, thread, and a big heart

Yarn, thread, and a big heart

Posted by on Oct 4, 2018 in Whats-new | 0 comments

Sometimes, the ties that bind are made of thread.

A relationship that began years ago in Ranch Ehrlo’s emergency receiving program has continued on in the Family Programs. Margaret Smith, of St. Francois Xavier, Manitoba, began sewing clothing for the youth of Rorison House in 2014.

Margaret recently expanded her efforts and started creating items for the mothers in our Family Treatment and Intensive Family Preservation Programs. From tiny sweaters, toques, and hats, for the infants in the program to baby blankets and diaper bags, Margaret has made it all.

She sends the items via Canada Post, on her own dime.

“Margaret is truly an amazing lady,” said family programs director Patti Petrucka. “She’s always thinking of others.”

Margaret connected with Ranch Ehrlo after the closing of Dale House, whose youth were her original benefactors. Her sewing projects began as a way to give back to adoptive and other residential services for children and youth.

Her own mother, Audrey, was adopted as an infant and spent much of her life attempting to trace her roots. When Audrey passed, Margaret continued the search and eventually located Audrey’s birth family; but the process of looking led her to spend a lot of time considering adoption and other children in care.

“I wanted to give something to the children,” Margaret said.

Now, Ranch Ehrlo’s youngest clientele are also benefiting from Margaret’s selflessness.

“The mothers in our programs love the items,” said Patti.

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CARE in action: back to school

CARE in action: back to school

Posted by on Sep 27, 2018 in Whats-new | 0 comments

Every staff member at Ranch Ehrlo strives to connect and build relationships with our youth, but no relationship is quite as unique as that with the house parent.

Our house parents are often the first adult that youth see upon waking up in the morning, greeted with a smile and breakfast to start their day off right. In the afternoon, returning from school, the house parent is there to inquire about how their day went, snack in hand. And on days off from school, the kitchen – where the house parent can often be found – is a frequent haven for our youth, to talk, or just sit in companionable silence.

Sometimes, though, house parents go above and beyond the call of duty to be there for a youth in crisis.

One young man was having issues with school – he was experiencing some bullying, and a lot of anxiety around attending his classes as a result.

“He made an agreement with our housemother that, if she were to attend school with him, that he would go and write his finals” said unit manager Kelly Cook.

A deal is a deal, so every morning the housemom headed into high school with the youth. With her calming presence, support, and encouragement, he was able to reduce his anxiety and successfully complete – and pass – his final exams.

“This particular youth does really well in school, but without writing his finals, he wouldn’t have gotten credit for the entire year. We really didn’t want to see that,” Kelly continued.

“This is a great example of the success we see when we integrate CARE principles into our work with youth.”

CARE, Children And Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change, is a multi-level program model developed by Cornell University that Ranch Ehrlo uses to improve services for children in out-of-home care through six practice principles. In this case the use of their strong relationship helped the youth work through his issue.

Through CARE principles, children, youth, adults, families, and employees work together to achieve their full potential.

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