Central Alberta Women’s Outreach celebrates milestone anniversary

Central Alberta Women’s Outreach Society continues to adapt to meet the needs of clients as it marks its 25th year.

Maggie Christensen

Central Alberta Women’s Outreach Society continues to adapt to meet the needs of clients as it marks its 25th year.

Its newest service, a Monitored Exchange Program, provides a safe and neutral location for parents to exchange children for visits and eliminates contact between parents.

Nine families currently use the exchange that has been available since February.

“As people learn more about the program, the more inquiries come in and more people use it,” said executive director Barb Barber during a 25th anniversary barbecue that attracted about 240 people to the society’s office at 4808-51 Ave. on Wednesday.

In 2007, a Safe Visitation Program was developed so parents can visit with their children at the society, as well eliminate contact between parents.

Last year, there were 77 family visits through the program.

“The program is doing what it’s supposed to be doing and really has made a difference for a number of families,” Barber said.

The outreach society started in 1984 as a Status of Women agency to support women dealing with women’s issues, including family violence.

Its name and focus changed in 1988 to provide basic support services for women and children based on the community need.

Other programs offered by the society include crisis intervention; support to deal with the effects of domestic abuse and violence; support to deal with legal, housing, financial and health issues; and basic needs like furniture, food, hygiene and school supplies.

In 2008, outreach staff received 28,072 calls.

Workers were contacted 1,671 times about domestic violence, 655 times about housing and homelessness, 988 regarding legal support and 722 for emotional support.

Client Maggie Christensen, 56, of Red Deer said staff have “gone above and beyond the call of duty” to help her.

“They’re here to help and people just have to contact them,” Christensen said.

For more information call 403-347-2480 or go to www.womensoutreach.ca

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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