Celebrating families is not just for Family Day

Our Kids Network partners support families every day

Young Boy and Girl sitting on their dad's lap while holding hands
Celebrating families is not just for Family Day
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About the Author

Beth Williams

Beth Williams is the communications and marketing manager at Our Kids Network. To Beth, collaboration is everything. Individuals from agencies and organizations in the early learning and care field; library systems; child, youth and family services; faith-based organizations; and the public, education, mental health and children’s services sectors are connected through OKN.

While you’re enjoying Family Day on Monday, February 16, Our Kids Network asks you to take a moment to recognize and celebrate the importance of families in our lives and in our community.

Our Kids Network made the same request of those who attended its 2014 annual meeting, mostly representatives of social service and mental health agencies, school boards, and police services – the organizations who make up the network.

The result was a long and moving list of local supports available to families, according to Our Kids Network director Elena DiBattista. “Some of the responses highlighted practical ways of helping, such as ‘link families to services’ and ‘meet families in their homes.’ Others stood out to me because of the clear empathy behind them. These were responses like ‘make sure families are comfortable enough to come back’ and ‘reassure families that someone is there for them.’ This is what Halton is all about.”

“The more Family Assets a family has, the better off they are,” DiBattista says. “It doesn’t matter what the make-up of that family is. It’s families that matter.”

The full list of local support can be viewed on the Research Snapshots blog. http://www.ourkidsnetworkblog.ca/

An ongoing focus on families also led Our Kids Network to produce a video highlighting personal stories of three unique Halton families. Their experiences show how families in Halton are meeting everyday challenges while also addressing the question of what makes a family.

Each family interviewed in the video has been through struggles and each has found ways to find help and push through to positive outcomes. The interviews were hosted by Bob Cowan of CHCH Hamilton.

Featured in the video are the Faruqui family, who relocated to Canada after a bombing in their Pakistan neighbourhood; the blended Callan family from Oakville, with Bruce and Kathie at the helm, two grown children each from previous marriages and 18-year-old Kyle, their foster son; and the Logan-Powell family, made up of Marcus and Wayne and their two adopted sons.

“We hope to share these stories with as many people as possible,” DiBattista says. “And not because they are extraordinary, as wonderful as they are. We’re trying to show that these families are actually quite typical of people we all know – neighbours, friends, co-workers. Families of all kinds inspire us every day.”

Our Kids Network’s 2013 Halton Youth Parent Survey (HYPS) asked parents about issues related to parenting and measured five categories of Family Assets. These are the everyday interactions, values, skills and relationships families use to help them be strong and resilient. According to the survey, the majority of local parents have very high levels of Family Assets, especially in areas such as positive communication, affection, maintaining boundaries and expectations, and establishing routines like family dinners and shared activities.

Statistics for Oakville Families

There are 51,665 families in Oakville (2011 Census, Statistics Canada)

  • 20% of parents in Oakville feel they have little or no support with parenting (2013, *HYPS)
  • 60% of Oakville parents report having a family meal with their child all 5 days in a usual school week (2013, *HYPS)
  • 90% of Oakville parents report they often or always are able to talk openly about a range of issues with their child (2013, *HYPS)
  • The majority of Oakville parents surveyed (91%) report they often or always spend time doing an activity with their child, like playing sports, going for a walk, or watching television or a movie) (2013, *HYPS)

*HYPS is Halton Youth Parent Survey

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