Families at risk of having their child apprehended, women with active addictions, and women who have a history of criminal justice involvement, who live in the Greater Vancouver Area.
COVID-19 Surge Funding
What This Grantee Is Doing for Community Counselling
The Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver (EFry) supports women, gender diverse people, girls and children at risk who are involved in or affected by the criminal justice system. Counselling is one of many programs that make up a network of care for their clients. EFry sees counselling as an upstream intervention to break the cycle of harm that can result from interaction with the criminal justice system.
CAI's COVID-19 Surge fund supports the addition of a counsellor to EFry's Family Counselling program, which helps families who have experienced serious conflict or domestic violence to stay together or reunite after separation. Counsellors provide short-term, solution-focused counselling via telehealth or telephone. Through individual or couples therapy, EFry gives families in crisis the support and tools necessary to make home a safe and caring place to be. Efry also supports parents via regular Circle of Security parenting groups. CAI COVID-19 Surge funding also supports technology equipment costs and training for their staff to deliver evidence-based groups and modalities.
"Counselling that does not have a financial burden (ie cost to participate, cost to get to and from appointments, cost to have technology to participate), that is provided in a flexible format (ie video session or phone session), and that is available when the client is seeking support (ie no waitlist) is removing barriers and increasing equity for people who have previously faced multiple barriers in seeking support for their mental wellness." "The most significant impact of the COVID Surge funding has been the ability to provide counselling at no cost. Many of the women and their families that we serve live in deep poverty and are distrustful of asking for help fearful it will bring their children under government scrutiny. Female headed families live with the greatest gap under the poverty line which barriers access through the costs of not only transportation to services but the cost of service. There are virtually no free services and even sliding scales are still prohibitively expensive for them. Anecdotally, when faced with these choices clients advise that what must be sacrificed is counselling rather than other priorities: food, shelter, transport. Even a $20 fee makes counselling inaccessible for many of the clients that we serve. The COVID Surge funding has allowed us to provide counselling, free of cost, and make such counselling accessible to all."