Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
October 29, 2001
CSS mediates parent-teen conflicts
Sign of Hope campaign aims to raise $1.53M
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Aiming for a goal of $1.53 million, Catholic Social Services (CSS) launched its 18th annual Sign of Hope fundraising campaign, Oct. 23.
Campaign organizers hope that by increasing the program's funding from $60,000 to $120,000 a year that CSS can help more parents and teens resolve conflicts before they become unmanageable.
The Parent-Teen Mediation (PTM) program was started in 1999 in partnership with Edmonton Community Services as well as with the MaMowe, childhood family services authority of the Children's Services department.
Since the program's inception it has seen an unprecedented demand from parents experiencing crisis with their teenagers, Chief Operating Officer Al Pierog told reporters.
"Due to the increasing number of parents and teens in conflict or crisis seeking our help, the agency needs additional funding from the community so that the (program) can satisfactorily meet their needs," said Pierog.
"Having people placed on a waiting list when they are in crisis is unacceptable," he said.
"This program is an excellent short and long-term investment in our youth and our families," said Mary Molloy, this year's Sign of Hope campaign chairperson.
PTM currently receives minimal government funding and as such, relies heavily upon the financial support it gets from the Sign of Hope, Molloy said.
While mediation is problem solving, it does not impose solutions on the parties concerned but lets them determine the outcome.
Sharon Heron, who was Alberta Child Welfare executive director, has been a mediator for one year.
"This is one of the most rewarding programs that I have ever been involved with," Heron told the WCR.
For Heron, who brings with her 35 years of experience in child welfare, the advantage of the program is that work starts with families before they are in serious trouble.
A mediator helps families stay together and keep the communication lines open before families fall apart.
"I have often seen that when somebody intervened sooner and helped them talk it out and come to their own solutions, we wouldn't find children running away," Heron said.
Pierog adds that "without this service, many youth in conflict or crisis with their parents end up running away from home, quit school or often end up as clients in the juvenile justice or child welfare systems."
The program serves some 200 clients every year.
While it costs nearly $1,700 a week to care for those in the child welfare system, PTM including follow-up runs at an average cost of $500.
For various reasons, the traditional ways that are in place to help parents in this kind of difficulty were not taken advantage of by some parents and youth, Pierog said.
"They would not come in because they felt that the counselling would not be helpful," said Pierog.
"Sometimes the youth would resist coming in because they felt that they would be blamed for the problem," said Pierog.
The agency recognized that not all of the clients coming to their door were served effectively by other services available in the community. Thus, it offered this program as an alternative.
"Parents and teens were feeling heard, listened to . . . and that they were given a process that they could use to resolve some intense emotion and anger between them," said Pierog.
This year CSS expects to serve more than 60,000 children, women and men through its 139 programs.
Together with some 200 volunteers, Molloy will reach out to the community, particularly businesses, to reach the funds needed to fund those programs.
"We have to make them aware of the campaign and make them understand the need of our community and how they can help," Molloy told the WCR.
"I hope that people will respond generously to the campaign this year so that CSS will have the additional resources it needs to deal with the increasing numbers of teens and parents coming for help," said Molloy.
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