Who knows where Central Alberta youths who seek help in Bosco Homes would have turned if the program had shut down, said Patrick Langlois, who oversees four group homes in Innisfail, Ponoka and Wetaskiwin.
“You know, I’m not sure where they would have gone. I think that’s the biggest concern everybody had.
“If we start losing the resources for these youth, where are they going to go?” said Langlois, co-ordinator for care service for two group homes in Ponoka, one in Innisfail and another in Wetaskiwin.
Bosco Homes staff were told last week that the organization was closing all its group homes because the province was not going to send them children. However on Sunday, Bosco president John Watson announced a deal had been reached to provide services and programs for troubled youth at homes in Edmonton, Stony Plain, Parkland County, Innisfail and Ponoka.
A Strathcona County ranch, where two youths ran away in January and were later charged in connection with the deaths of Susan Trudel, 50, and Barry Boenke, 68, will be closed when its programs end in December or January. One youth has been charged with murder and the other with being an accessory after the fact.
A group home in Wetaskiwin is expected to be assessed for other purposes.
Langlois said he could not speak for Bosco Homes, but he was cheered by news that the three Central Alberta programs will continue.
“For myself, it’s good news. I’m going to keep working and helping youth in this community.
“We’ve had youth that I know I truly believe benefit a great deal from the program they are in. The staff are very skilled and capable of meeting their needs.”
The Central Alberta group homes each have room for six youths. They are not full, but Langlois said he could not disclose how many are involved in the program.
Youths between 14 and 18 learn everything from resume writing and cooking meals to anger management and how to make friends through various programs.
“It’s everything a parent should be doing for these kids,” he said.
The youngsters in the community group care programs are fully integrated into their communities, he said.
“They attend public schools, they go in public groups, they are part of that community.”