Our programs are groundbreaking collaborations between Infantcare Alberta, our partner agencies, and the families we serve. They leverage and build upon existing community programming and support in furthering the well-being of the child. We believe that to eradicate child poverty in our province there needs to be a concerted and coordinated effort from many facets of society that must start with maternal health and continue from birth.
Consistent with the “Alberta Approach to Early Childhood Development”, InfantCare Alberta has developed a proven program to address the priorities and factors identified as critical barriers to the well-being of vulnerable Alberta families, particularly infants.
Through our program(s), there is a threefold commitment to the infant:
We have developed a practical solution that mandates collaboration, leverages existing expertise and investment, and adapts to the numerous barriers to infant health. It allows for customization and inherently accommodates the many social and cultural differences within our province. InfantCare Alberta’s offering is in complete alignment with the principals and stated goals of Alberta’s government.
Our programs are built upon our Six Founding Principles of Infant Programming:
Infantcare Alberta offers comprehensive programs designed to support healthy brain development in Alberta’s youngest and most vulnerable, with a focus on nutrition, sleep, and positive parenting. Each program is purposeful in its attempt to support neurogenesis and limit Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) to ensure that each child born in our province is given the foundation upon which they can build a meaningful life and fulfil their potential. We are fighting tomorrow’s poverty today!
Infant Care Under Two – ICU2
We partner with existing family serving agencies assist vulnerable families. The focus of each agency is specific to their mandate but all have agreed that nutrition, sleep and parenting are important factors to healthy infant brain development and have agreed to support their clients in this regard. Infantcare supplies at no cost breast pumps, infant formula, and diapers. We also provide support in providing healthy sleep environments with cribs and bedding and safety items such as car seats and strollers and to prevent physical trauma. ICU2 requires a commitment from the parent, the partner agency and Infantcare Alberta in order to be successful as each makes a pledge to the child. This groundbreaking program is based on the most current research and is a pragmatic and collaborative approach to ensuring that infants have the resources required for healthy development, specifically their brains.
The parent(s) agree to develop, with assistance, a Parental or Personal Improvement Plan (PIP) that requires a pledge of twenty hours per month accessing existing programming with a dedication to furthering themselves as individuals and parent(s). These activities can focus on: improving parenting skills, bonding and playing with their baby, financial literacy, upgrading or continuing their education and/or any other activity approved by their agency. Each agency has a pre-approved list of programming and has agreed to assist in the development of the PIP. Most agencies allow for 25% of the hours to be completed in the home as parents will read to the infant, engage in play and other healthy interactions. The parent(s) is responsible for logging their activities and each agency sets up their own parameters in regard to reporting. As part of the hours the family commits to competing their PIP, they are required to attend three workshops developed by Infantcare Alberta and provided by their agency partner.
The partner agency commits to counselling and advising the parent(s), delivering their program(s) with an additional focus on brain development and to reporting back to Infantcare Alberta quarterly on each client. Each agency is also required to submit a list of community activities that they will refer families too. In addition to this, all supplies are delivered to the partnering agency and are picked up by the family each month. Partner agencies also agree to provide three workshops developed by Infantcare Alberta they are: Infant Nutrition and Health, Your Baby’s Brain, and Finance & Family.
MVB is a double entendre, meaning both Most Valuable Babies and Most Vulnerable Babies.
In order to focus on families that are at an extremely high risk and unable to fulfil the ICU2 program’s requirements of participation, but are still very much in need of assistance, we developed the MVB program. This program allows partnering agency to present to our advisory committee programming that provides the same focus as ICU2 with a majority of the support being delivered in-home and directly through the partner agency itself instead of drawing on public supports.
The MVB program mimics the ICU2 program but has different requirements of clients. The MVB program will use the low-income cut-off as a benchmark for financial need. Additional agency justification will be required to enrol clients in this program. Each case will be assessed by our advisory committee individually. Although not limited to these, the following criteria have already been approved for application with a referral:
Addiction Recovery | PTSD | Chronic Homelessness | Mental Illness | Illiterate | Limited Abilities / AISH | Child(ren) with Limited Abilities | Fleeing Abuse | Working with Children’s Services | Has Three or More Children | Child with Special Needs | Caregiver to Another Adult | Others as Approved
Clients accepted to the MVB program will receive a monthly supplement similar to that of an ICU2 client and will also be entitled to order via the Healthy Baby Box (HBB) program. Agency partners are required to submit reports monthly, instead of quarterly, and are responsible for program delivery. MVB Clients should realize a 70% cost savings in the purchasing of infant essentials. This program will provide high impact to those that need it most, with a continued focus on the key factors of infant brain development similar to ICU2. Families that are enrolled in the MVB program are also required to attend all three workshops. This program was developed as a result of regular consultation and refining with our agency partners in order to serve the greatest number of clients possible without having those that need the greatest support “fall through the cracks”.
Healthy Baby Box – HBB
Healthy Baby Box is a user-friendly app-based program that is self-sustaining and allows partner agencies to manage clients directly. This program was developed in consultation with partner agencies to reach a much larger audience of families which specifically require financial assistance but not intervention. In a “nutshell”, HBB clients will be able to purchase their infant essentials at significant savings and pick them up via their social/case worker. They will need to complete the workshops with no further requirements after this.
Infantcare Alberta is designing the app with “backdoor functionality” to allow each agency and to facilitate the registration of clients and facilitate completion transactions. We believe that within the first year, the HBB program should be able to support 3,500 families per month and the model can be scaled to cover the entire province or up to 75,000 families.
How It Works
We like many charities are in need of additional funding. Our first priority is always the babies. We have a waiting list of organizations that would like to partner with us and additional funding can be directed towards building capacity.
Other needs tend to take a back seat… We are however in need of a forklift, a new truck and newer computers.
Help us by doing what you do best! We have numerous donors that offer us “In-Kind” products and/or services. These service have varies over the years but have included everything from furniture donations, vehicle maintenance and printing services to carpet cleaning. If your organization is looking for a way to give back, send us an email and let’s talk about it!
We have many opportunities for individual volunteers and the positions vary greatly. From admin to warehouse work from sorting to building cribs we can use the assistance. Additionally, we have supporters that bring their professional expertise to the table assisting with marketing, events, communications etc. If you are interested please send an email and let’s see if we can make this work!
We have many corporations, service clubs and other groups that volunteer. We are able to tailor your experience to meet your goals with opportunities focused on team building, community impact and more. We are able to host groups of up to 30 people! Don’t be shy we could use the help.