By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario – Children don't come with an instruction manual, but a new program in the area is providing the resources for a better parenting experience.
© Adam Brazeau
Pictured are Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, chief medical officer of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Rachel Daigneault, executive director of the Children's Aid Society of SD&G, and Raymond Lemay, executive director of the Valoris for Children and adults of Prescott Russell at Ramada Cornwall.
The 'Triple P: Positive Parenting Program' launched on Wednesday, Feb. 12 following a presentation from the Children's Aid Society (CAS) of SD&G, Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), and the Valoris for Children and Adults of Prescott-Russell at Ramada Cornwall.
The new local initiative is modeled after an international program, based on research and evidence by Professor Matt Sanders of the University of Queensland Australia, offering family support strategies to parents and caregivers. Triple P is available to all families in Cornwall, SD&G, and Prescott-Russell at no cost.
For Rachel Daigneault, CAS executive director, the dream of being able to offer positive parenting advice, while keeping a very consistent approach throughout multiple local agencies, is now a reality.
Families in the area will have access to seminars, discussion groups, workshops, a telephone helpline, and online resources to answer any parenting questions.
"As a parent, we all have our moments where we run out of ideas on how to manage behaviours. The Triple P program will take the guessing out of the parenting," said Daigneault.
Out of the 1,500 families CAS helps annually, she said 90 per cent struggle with parenting.
The non-profit organization has been preparing for three years to launch the program. Over 100 CAS practitioners are trained and certified in multiple levels of Triple P.
Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, EOHU's chief medical officer, said Cornwall (in particular) and the rest of SD&G are facing two major issues: having higher rates of chronic disease, and a life expectancy several years lower, compared to the rest of Ontario; and a high percentage of students not being developmentally ready for school because of key social issues.
He linked these sobering facts to social determinants of health including: low income and social status, limited access to social support networks, and poor education and literacy skills.
Triple P is Roumeliotis' way of attempting to fix both issues with one major solution.
"The key is looking at early childhood, making sure these kids are supported, so we can reverse what happens that makes them chronically sick," he said.
Since almost 20 per cent of families living in poverty in Cornwall are single mothers, he knows Triple P is a program that is desperately needed.
"We're trying to add to their support network to help improve parenting skills therefore giving kids a better chance at life."
Raymond Lemay, executive director of the Valoris for Children and Adults of Prescott Russell, described Triple P as a "coalition to promote happy and effective families," boasting over two dozen English and French social groups, including the Cornwall police.
"By building strong family relationships, we are by extension building strong community relationships," said Lemay.
For more information, visit www.mytriplep.ca.