The Family Matters program provides 8-12 weeks of in-home support for families in crisis. Families may self-refer to the program, or they may be referred by Children’s Services or another community agency. Family Specialists visit with the family 3-4 times each week and provide 24 hour crisis support to improve overall family functioning and build capacity and protective factors to prevent future involvement or re-involvement of Children’s Services.

Families referred by Children’s Services may be at imminent risk of having their children removed from their care. Admission to the program may prevent a child from going into foster care. Failure to effectively address concerns raised by Children’s Services will often otherwise lead to the removal of the children from the family unit.

Family Specialists can support each family for up to a year. They empower parents by teaching them to communicate more effectively, to address inappropriate behaviour with confidence and to manage crisis. Family Specialists coach and mentor parents as they learn how to set family goals, implement those goals and maintain those goals long-term. Parents are connected to local resources that can assist them to keep their family on track.

“We used to squash everything down. Now we deal more logically with problems. It never escalates like it used to.” — Program Participant

Once a family’s file has been closed, Closer to Home offers strengthening sessions for up to one year, at which point the family could re-enroll in the program or be referred by the Family Specialist to another program that best fits the family’s needs. Re-enrollment in the program is encouraged if the Family Specialist believes the family would benefit.

The Family Matters program currently provides services to children/youths and their families in Calgary, Airdrie and the Rocky View Region.