What is Connect?
Adolescence is a remarkable developmental period, in which children are transformed neurobiologically, cognitively and interpersonally as they prepare for adult roles and relationships. The confluence of these diverse changes makes adolescence a “sensitive” developmental period, where vulnerability increases but opportunities for growth are also heightened
Connect© is an evidence-based 10-week manualized group program for parents and alternate caregivers of pre-teens and teens who struggle with significant behaviour problems and mental health issues. Co-developed over the last 10 years by the Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre and Dr. Marlene Moretti of Simon Fraser University, the program focuses on the core components of secure attachment to promote children’s social, emotional and behavioural adjustment.
CONNECT FOR FOSTER PARENTS
Teens in foster care often struggle with challenges in relationships and with mental health difficulties. However their resilience can be encouraged through their foster parents’ support, empathy, and care. Indeed, while foster parents have not been traditionally viewed as ‘interventionists’ or ‘therapists’ in a primary sense, research shows that they can play an important role in providing foster teens a sense of security, stability and safety. Foster parents who receive support in understanding the impact of trauma on their child’s behaviour are better equipped to respond sensitively to challenging behavior. However, despite the central importance of attachment relationships for foster teens, there are surprisingly few evidence –based treatments, that consider the attachment needs, for this population.
CONNECT WITH INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES
Connect with Indigenous Communities is an adaptation of Connect that strives to ensure respectful recognition and sensitivity to Indigenous culture. It is flexible and invites adaptation by Indigenous communities to best represent their cultural and caregiving practices and needs. Connect with Indigenous Communities is a free 10-week program supporting caregivers of pre-teens (ages 8 – 12) and teens (ages 13 – 17). Caregivers meet in groups of 8-10 with two group leaders from within their community, 1.5 hours each week. Connect with Indigenous Communities supports families in ways that are safe and respectful, integrating traditional cultural knowledge, in accordance with local communities.
A Connect Parent Group for Parents and Caregivers of Transgender Youth
Transforming Connections is a ten-week program that helps caregivers of gender non-conforming and trans teens (aged 12-18) understand their teens better and strengthen the parent-teen relationship. Caregivers meet in small groups (10 – 14) with two trained leaders for 1.5 hours. Each session provides caregivers with an attachment perspective on parent-teen relationships and adolescent development. Caregivers watch role plays, do exercises and learn new strategies to better support their teens.
Rather than teach the A-B-C’s of parenting, Connect© helps caregivers understand basic attachment concepts which can then be applied across a broad range of situations and relational contexts. A strength-based approach to supporting families, Connect© is consistent with trauma informed practice and is offered by a variety of professionals in settings such as schools, community agencies and mental health offices.
Connect has recently been adapted for a number of specialized populations including, Foster Parents , Aboriginal Families, and Parents and caregivers of transgender youth. Connect is also available in English, French, Swedish, and Italian.
If you’re interested in joining a group in your area, please click here for a list of Upcoming Connect Parent Groups..