Family Resource Program Certificate | Justice Institute of BC


family-resource-program-certificate-lrgThe Family Resource Program (FRP) Certificate program, which the BC Association of Family Resource Programs (FRP-BC) plans to offer in Spring or Fall 2015, provides competency-based training for workers who support and assist parents of young children with a wide range of challenges including child development, economic stress, adaptation to a new country and culture, separation and divorce, family violence, or mental health issues. The certificate program has been on temporary pause since last year as FRP-BC reviews its course offerings in partnership with the Justice Institute of BC’s Centre for Counselling & Community Safety in New Westminster. According to Debbie Jackson, Program/Member Services Coordinator at FRP-BC, the agency is also exploring the development of online courses. Workshops and toolkits have been developed, piloted and delivered. Much of the curriculum of the FRP Workshops was drawn from the eight courses of the FRP Certificate. This autumn, FRP-BC will survey past participants of the FRP Certificate and the agencies that have been involved to gain perspective on the positive impacts on participants, agencies and families served. Keeping in Touch will update readers when a date for the next offering of the FRP Certificate training program is confirmed.

The 12-day (6 credit) FRP Certificate is designed for family support practitioners, particularly those in prevention-focused parent/child engagement programs, including:

  • Practitioners currently working in Family Resource Programs
  • Individuals seeking careers in Family Resource Programs and related fields such as early learning centres
  • Practitioners working in other fields who want to expand their knowledge in the area of prevention-focused family support

The curriculum includes eight courses of core training incorporating both cognitive and experiential learning:

  • Roots and Principles of Family Resource Programs in Canada (FMRS 101): This course covers the fundamental characteristics of FRPs and the social movements, values and practices that have influenced the development of programs in Canada. It covers the key principles used Canada-wide and the nice and core service areas of parent/child engagement programs.
  • Family Resource Program Approach to Practice (FMRS 102): This course examines the key FRP approaches to practice while exploring how personal values, beliefs and biases affect work with families.
  • Child Development (FMRS 103): This course covers the role of FRP in promoting positive child outcomes by examining the neuroscience of early brain development and the impact of the environment on healthy child development.
  • The Skilled Practitioner: Communicating Effectively (FMRS 104): This course examines the core communication skills: active listening, communicating empathy, effective use of questions and clear messaging.
  • Understanding Family Diversity (FMRS 105): This course identifies the social, economic, cultural and structural diversity of families, while describing the specific approaches, strategies and programs to facilitate inclusion.
  • Working with Vulnerable Families (FMRS 106): This course covers the attitudes and values required to work effectively with vulnerable families, and the skills needed to support these families.
  • Supporting Families of Children with Special Needs (FMRS 107): This course examines the scope of children with special needs that are likely to attend FR programs and teaches specific approaches that promote engagement and inclusion of children with various special needs.
  • Program Planning and Evaluation (FMRS 108): This course examines the use of logic models to design effective programs, looks at the importance of connections and partnerships among service providers in program planning and evaluation, and covers the purpose, methods and differences of monitoring and evaluation. 

The National Alliance for Children and Youth (NACY) conducted a number of case studies in 2012. One of these case studies focused on Capacity Building & Knowledge Acquisition: Developing an Academic Certificate Program for Family Resource Program Practitioners in BC (Case Study #2: BC Association of Family Resource Programs), focusing on the development of the FRP Certificate.

In 2007, FRP-BC received funding through the province, the United Way and the Vancouver Foundation to develop a competency-based post-secondary program to be delivered both face-to-face and online to its members, and worked with the Justice Institute (JIBC) to develop a desired set of learning outcomes which were used as a framework to create the eight courses as the foundation of the FRP Certificate. A pilot classroom version of the Certificate was offered at the JIBC in 2009. Aboriginal content was increased to strengthen the certificate’s cultural competencies. Nearly 100 FRP workers have completed the FRP Certificate program over the last several years.

In an article for the Fall 2012 FRP-BC Family Connections newsletter, Marianne Drew-Pennington, then Executive Director of FRP-BC wrote, “In 2011, the BC Association of Family Resource Programs decided to survey the field and identify the top four training needs family practitioners required. Feedback indicated that most were confident with supporting families through minor transitory issues and were very comfortable linking families to community resources….On the other hand, over seventy per cent questioned their capacity to serve those families experiencing vulnerabilities. Practitioners questioned their ability to either identify risk factors and/or to link parents with relevant supports and services.

Establishing and sustaining relationships with parents, informally assessing family needs and promoting opportunities for family development through deeper parent engagement and connection to programs and community are the goals of the Family Support worker. Practitioners may be confronted with complex ethical and legal practice issues that demand careful consideration before actions and taken and strategies implemented to assist families in need of support. In practice, many situations in family support work defy easy solutions….On the other hand, it must be recognized that family support workers are neither social workers nor psychologists. Skillful work requires skill training.”