The Family Safety Program looks to ensure the safety of families in crisis situations. In working with local organizations like the London Police Service and Children’s Aid Society, we have been able to prevent family violence and significantly reduce the number of Muslim and Arab children in foster care.
The Family Safety Program intervenes and engages if a risk of violence is present or if an episode of violence has occurred. The main goal of the program is to ensure the safety of all family members and recognize that violence can occur across generations and non-nuclear boundaries. Our function is to build understanding and to involve the family in promoting change when the actions of family members present an emotional or physical risk to their family.
We work with the Justice System and social services to develop a customized intervention plan to engage the family in cultivating change. We provide support to individual family members and serve as intermediaries upon request if there has been a restraining order and the family wishes for reconciliation. Couples counselling is offered when appropriate and we can provide supervised access between the parent and child when necessary or court ordered.
Our services have been able to prevent so-called ‘honour-related’ violence, especially in situations where the child is pulled between the cultures and beliefs of their homeland and those of Canada. In many of these situations, parents’ attempts to exert control over their children causes them to leave or even flee from the family home. We help parents understand that they are living in the country of their children. Parent-child conflict situations are involved in 25% of Family Safety Program cases.
We have trained CAS-approved Muslim families in the London-Middlesex area to provide homes for children should they not be able to remain with their families. The children can remain connected with their community in this way.