Eva’s Family Reconnect program helps prevent the cycle of youth homelessness. By building bridges to reconnect youth to themselves, their families (immediate or chosen), and their communities, our program helps young people re-establish, keep, and expand healthy and supportive relationships.
Family Reconnect offers a trauma-informed and strengths-based approach, recognizing the trauma young people have experienced and how it impacts their behaviour and actions. Through coping mechanisms, family counselling, community connections, and skill-based training, we help youth decide how they want to proceed with their families. “Sometimes they want to work it out with their families and other times, they do not,” says Audrey Taylor, Clinical Lead with the Family Reconnect program. “It’s important for youth to choose what they want and what will be safest for them.” No matter what they choose, the need for support is crucial and with the pandemic, the need is even greater.
Throughout the pandemic, Family Reconnect counsellors have noticed increased anxiety and isolation, sparking other issues for youth. “Some are reluctant to get up and get out of bed. The alone time and lack of schedule are difficult and overwhelming for the youth,” says Joan Rogers, Registered Psychotherapist with the Family Reconnect program. In response, we have made access to the program more convenient through virtual sessions, texting, and phone calls. We are also ensuring youth have the right equipment, along with a private and safe space, to connect virtually.
Family Reconnect carves out space for youth to pause and reflect – something that may not be possible when youth are navigating homelessness. “Trauma is often intergenerational, and survivors of trauma have a tendency to unconsciously repeat the trauma in their day to day lives,” explains Maria Desmoctt, Registered Psychotherapist with the Family Reconnect program.
“The youth are eventually going to move on to independence, so we need to provide them with the skills and techniques to regulate their emotions on their own.”
By helping youth learn to manage setbacks and recognize their resiliency, we can either prevent them from entering the shelter system or, for those experiencing homelessness, enable them to develop the skills and community needed to exit.