Our At-Risk Comprehensive Support program is our most utilized program for low income mamas, expecting mamas and their families. This program provides 1-1 support with a social worker and our Karma Market coordinator to help mamas overcome the impact of poverty on their lives and on the lives of their children. The At-Risk Comprehensive program identifies barriers and provides resources and immediate supports to low income and struggling mamas, papas and caregivers to access basic needs to provide a healthy and safe living environment for their children. Issues we commonly support surround Mamas and families facing homelessness, abuse and violence, lack of basic resources including food, clothing, shoes, medical interventions not covered by MSP and access to menstrual/hygiene products. The program also helps facilitate resource navigation, addresses current gaps to prevent further poverty, provides access to supplementary diapers, wipes, and required baby items such as cribs, highchairs, and infant car seats. The at-risk program also refers internally to our mental health counselling and groups. For especially complex cases, we refer to internal support programs as appropriate including the Family Court Support Program, helping families navigate the court system and providing family based victim service support.
The At-Risk Comprehensive program has been in operation since September 2016. We experienced exponential growth annually and in 2019 supported over 6000 families with 4682 of these mamas participating in the At-Risk Comprehensive program. In 2020 we have supported 7605 at risk caregivers through direct and COVID-19 safe no-contact support means. Participants may be referred by Interior Health, Elizabeth Fry Society, The Women’s Shelter, the Ministry of Child and Family Development, School District 23, or partnered non-profit organizations. Clients can also self refer. This program provides access to a registered social worker for resource navigation and access to the free Karma market for all items required. In house referrals are provided for those with greater needs and other community-based programs and supports are accessed as appropriate. Appointments can be made after hours for individuals or families who are not able to attend during regular working hours or a no contact hamper delivery can be arranged. The scope of this program continues to expand based on the increased complexity of the mamas and families that are presenting to us. We have added a fill the gap dental program to the at-risk services, supporting families with financial support to relieve dental pain and infection, a court support program to help mamas involved with the justice system or MCFD, as well as a fill the gap hearing program to support families experiencing poverty as a result of meeting the financial burden of their child’s audiology needs.
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