Funding fosters North End family programs


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This article was published 23/04/2021 (772 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

More than a year after Kookum’s House arrived in the North End, the child-care operation is launching a second location in the community.

Blue Thunderbird Family Care opened Kookum’s (Granny’s) House as a one-year pilot project in February 2020.

The project received $400,000 from the Province of Manitoba last year. On April 16, 2021, the government announced additional funding of $810,000 to extend the existing project another year and to add a second site in the North End, which was approved for one year.

Canstar file photo Josie Hill is the executive director of Blue Thunderbird Family Care, which oversees Kookum's House.

Families use Kookum’s House for temporary respite. Caregivers can drop off their kids to be cared for while they run errands, work, or simply catch their breath. The house is open 24-7.

Last year, Kookum’s House provided care to approximately 35 unique families, including 83 children.

“Parents never had this kind of respite before Granny’s House opened,” said Josie Hill, the executive director of Blue Thunderbird Family Care.

Having flexible, non-judgemental and affordable care available to families has potentially prevented some kids from entering the child welfare system, she added.

“This kind of program keeps families together (and) prevents children from coming into formal systems, because there’s somebody there that can give (parents) that break.

“It’s about supporting families, not breaking down those relationships with families.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way Kookum’s House was originally supposed to run.

Before the pandemic, kids from multiple families could be at the house simultaneously. Now, one family is allowed at Kookum’s at a time.

Children are screened for COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival and the house is cleaned and disinfected between visits.

Super Dads program receives boost

After a year-long hiatus due to a shortage of funds, Mount Carmel Clinic will be rebooting its Super Dads program.

The program, which provides support to new or expecting fathers, recently received $48,000 from the Province of Manitoba. The funding will allow Mount Carmel (886 Main St.) to run sessions for 12 weeks and provide meals to participating families.

“We’re super excited about it because it has been at a standstill and we do get a lot of … people asking, ‘When is it going to run again?’” said Elaine Morris, the director of early learning and parenting programs at Mount Carmel Clinic.

MCC piloted Super Dads in 2018. The success of the program encouraged the clinic to continue offering sessions. More than 30 men have participated in the program since.

Thanks to the program, some fathers have reunited with their children, while others have learned how to better support their partner, Morris said.

Super Dads includes a cultural component, as well. Men can access an Indigenous Elder or Knowledge Keeper and participate in sharing circles, land-based activities such as medicine picking, and ceremonies.

There are fewer programs for men and fathers than women and mothers, Morris said, which makes this program — and the funding — that much more significant.

Mount Carmel Clinic received a total of $123,000 from the province. Funding not designated for the Super Dads program will be used for other services.

The funding is part of a $1.2-million investment in mental health and addictions support by the Manitoba government.

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