Closer to Home Community Services
Our Story Why We Exist
"It was really hard. We lost everything." Angie and Dylan* had faced challenges before, but this was the first time in their lives that they were separated from each other and their two children. Strained by addiction and stress, things quickly went downhill for their family. And that's when they were referred to Closer to Home for help.
Today, Angie and Dylan are successfully reunited with their children. They work full-time. The apartment where they live is decorated with children's artwork. It's been a difficult journey but, thanks to the support and guidance at Closer to Home, Angie and Dylan have rebuilt their lives.
"To know that we are a family again... this is the big thing that is amazing about Closer to Home," says Angie.
Like many families in our community, Angie and Dylan have overcome adversity using the skills and supports they needed to empower their family to stay together. Theirs is one of the many life-changing stories we see every day. At Closer to Home, children and their families can access caring, professional services in order to achieve outcomes important in their lives.
We invite you to be part of the Closer to Home family and ensure that every person who needs a teacher, coach, mentor, or advocate can get through tough times and get the help that they need, when they need it.
Our Impact What We Do
“I feel inspired by the work Closer to Home does and who the people are. They are masters at building a sense of family and belonging for children and families. They are ever-present in building strong and healthy foundations for children and youth." ~ From a family who received services at Closer to Home
MISSION AND VISION
Founded in 1995, Closer to Home Community Services’ (CTH) mission is: Empowering Families to Stay Together. This is the focus of everything we do. Our vision is that CTH contributes to a future where every child will belong to a family and feel valued and secure. Through the use of evidence-based practices and innovative solutions, CTH will strive to preserve, reunify and build stronger families who can care for their children and contribute meaningfully in their community.
We provide a broad array of strength-based and family-centered services that teach, coach, and support families to create new possibilities and achieve better futures together.
Our services ensure that children have stable, healthy and safe living environments in which to grow and develop. In some cases, when families are separated, we provide a place for children and youth to call home while offering therapeutic support with the ultimate goal of family reunification.
BUILDING STRONG FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES
Children, youth and parents come to us for a variety of reasons. Sometimes parents are struggling to care for a child with a mental, physical or emotional disability, or their child has made choices that have led to an unhealthy lifestyle. Sometimes, the parents are struggling with these issues themselves.
We know that being part of a resilient family is the foundation for a child’s health, safety and success. By building stronger families, Closer to Home increases family independence and reduces the strain on more costly social supports.
HOW WE ARE UNIQUE
Closer to Home is the only organization of its kind in Canada that integrates the Teaching Family Model into its programs and services (along with other proven service models).
The Teaching Family Model is an evidenced-based, internationally-accredited best practice approach to helping create skill-based solutions for families. CTH has been so successful serving its clients and creating positive change that the organization now mentors and consults to other agencies around the world on the implementation of the Teaching Family Model.
- Since 1995, CTH has grown quickly and expanded services to support children in group care, foster care, family-based and early intervention services; and
- In the past 20 years CTH has served over 50,000 individuals.
We served 1,635 clients in 2015/16, and 95% of clients are satisfied with our programming; there were 6,899 children in care in Alberta and there are four domains that we've focused on:
- Child Well-Being: 94% of families in our early intervention/prevention programs reported an increased ability to respond to daily challenges;
- Safety: 85% of families in our early intervention/prevention programs reported increased knowledge of child development and parenting strategies;
- Permanence: 88% of children in our Foster Care program returned home or found a permanent home through kinship care or adoption;
- Family & Community Connections: 100% of our Resource Centre clients reported an increase in friends, family members and others who can provide emotional support and assistance in times of crisis;
Our Programs How We Do It
SERVICES WE OFFER
Family and Community Support: Early Intervention programs designed to prevent stress, crisis and family breakdown, such as the West Central Community Resource Centre, which provides walk-in services, parenting/caregiver support and classes, child and youth programs, and more.
Preservation: In-Home Family Support programs designed to assist families to recover from crisis or maltreatment, to preserve the family unit and to build new positive skills for the future. These include Closer to Home’s continuum of Aboriginal-focused programs, such as the Family Matters or Healthy Families program.
Reunification: In-Care programs, such as Community Teaching Group Homes, that help care for and bring resolution to children and their families after experiencing severe challenges, when a family’s situation has grown dangerous or beyond their ability to manage, and social services is involved.
Aboriginal Services: Integrated within levels above, Closer to Home facilitates cultural connections, family resiliency and supports for Aboriginal families with programs such as the Kiwehtata Parenting Program.
In every case, Closer to Home seeks to provide services with a customized approach that empowers families and their children to make positive changes and achieve their full potential. In the context of communities and partnerships, families are connected to the resources they need to be successful in all aspects of their lives.
Our Requests What You Can Do
“It's so important to us to make sure [families and kids] know that there are people in the community who really care about them.” ~ 2016 Donor of the Year at Closer to Home
WAYS YOU CAN GET INVOLVED - Please join us! Your participation is welcome and appreciated.
1. Make a donation!
- Become a Family Teacher and make a lasting difference in the life of a youth
- Consider fostering a child or youth until family reunification is possible
3. Host a community fundraiser for Closer to Home!
WAYS that CALGARIANS have HELPED...
Calgarians came out in droves to support their struggling neighbours with Closer to Home Community Services’ Adopt-a-Family initiative. Over 200 local families were set to receive support through Adopt-a-Family in 2016 – more than double the 96 families served in 2015.
In a year with many jobs lost in our city, we wanted to support Calgary families who were struggling throughout the year, whether they needed help with emergency food hampers, money management, employment services or other things. But at Christmastime, the need for extra help became increasingly urgent.
- “We are seeing a real generosity of spirit as Calgarians adopt-a-family and make their Christmas dreams come true,” says Karen Olivier, Closer to Home’s Chief Executive Officer. “Donors – like Calgary Academy, and so many others – are really stepping up to help families with toys, clothes, food and basic necessities that they so badly need.”
Through Adopt-a-Family, Closer to Home makes a personal connection with families who are struggling to ensure they have the resources and support they need, now and in the future when times get tough.
- Calgary Lexus Dealers have also partnered with Closer to Home to make a $40,000 minimum donation to support families at Christmastime and throughout the year. A total of $500 from every Lexus sold in Calgary until January 3rd, 2017 will be donated to Closer to Home to strengthen families. Visit www.lexusholidaylift.com for more information.
“Closer to Home increasingly relies on Calgary and Airdrie donors to support the families we serve,” says Olivier. “The stresses facing many families right now will continue into the New Year, making it critical that we all work together and share our resources, time and energy. We really need the support of the community to keep children and families healthy and strong.”
Closer to Home has supported and empowered more than 50,000 Albertans since 1995. You can help support local families in need now and into the New Year by making a donation at www.closertohome.com.