The development of culturally sensitive and safe parenting programs for Aboriginal families is among the calls to action issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Although programs are available for parents and caregivers of young children, few address the needs of caregivers of teens. Reclaiming Connections is a free 10-week program supporting parents and caregivers of pre-teens (ages 8 – 12) and teens (ages 13 – 17). Caregivers meet in groups of 8-10 with two group leaders, 1.5 hours each week. Reclaiming Connections supports families in ways that are safe and respectful, integrating traditional cultural knowledge, in accordance with local communities.
Through mutual dialogue and partnership with all levels of community, we continue to collaborate and gather information about how to make the program stronger and to ensure cultural sensitivity and safety. Information gathered belongs to each community; and with consent, new knowledge will be shared broadly to support learning. The program has been structured so that leaders can adapt the program to fit the needs within each community. Reclaiming Connections is shaped in collaboration with Aboriginal families, mental health professionals and researchers. Information gathered belongs to each community; and with consent, new knowledge will be shared broadly to support learning.