By Sharon Gray
Barter is leading a project to help families at risk.
An innovative outreach program to families and children
at risk will be tested in St. John’s over the next three
years. Dr. Ken Barter, Social Work, in co-operation with five
community agencies, will lead the project, which has received
nearly $249,000 from the National Crime Prevention Centre.
Dr. Barter, former chair of child protection, is enthusiastic
about the project.
“It will take a different
approach to carrying out the mandate of the Child Youth and
Family Services Act. We will do the outreach to families using
a capacity building approach and with the aid of a community
facilitator we will work with these families to link them to
The community agencies involved in the project with Dr. Barter
are the Daybreak Child Care Centre, the Avalon East School Board,
Health and Community Services (St. John’s region), the
Janeway Family Centre and Brighter Futures Coalition (St. John’s
region). The steering committee is in the process of hiring
a community facilitator to implement the project’s goals.
Within a defined geographical area, the community capacity building
project will work with families to assist them in developing
relationships within their own communities.
want these families to take advantage of programs and resources
in the community, to participate in community activities as
a parent or a family, and to develop networks and support whereby
they can get a better sense of hope, of turning their lives
Dr. Barter said the project is ambitious, but he believes it
will work. “These families struggle with issues such as
housing, transportation and personal problems – we will
engage with them at different levels.”
Ultimately the project will produce a self-sustaining system
of support networks.
“Right now community agencies
do not have the resources to try a new approach. This project
is an opportunity for these agencies to have a resource to do
what they’ve always wanted to do.”
Dr. Barter said he has been interested in implementing a community
capacity building model for some time, but was unsuccessful
in finding funding through traditional child protection agencies.
He applauds the National Crime Prevention Centre, which now
comes under the new Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Canada, for recognizing prevention and early intervention as
part of its mandate.
Dr. Barter is also completing a three year study on delivering
child abuse prevention programs. He said the project has worked
out “phenomenally well” and was recently approved
for an extra $40,000 in funding from RespectED: Violence and
Abuse Prevention programs, to complete an evaluation of feedback
from youth who participated in the study.