Stories to Inspire

Eastman team wins Excellence in Service Award

Written by nominators Dan Knight and Sherri Rollins

In April, 2017, the Rural and Northern Service team was awarded the Excellence in Service Award as part of the 2016-17 Family Services Achievement Awards Nominees! The following is a write-up about their award winning service model.

The Rural and Northern Service Team has developed an excellent new practice model. The new service model includes an informational video for all ages that breaks down the functions of CFS and dispels stereotypes and myths.

The model is one that places community and relationship-building at the centre of building supports and designing services, and it’s having far reaching effects and excellent service delivery results.

The World Cup of CFS video” is emblematic of the new practice model. Like a soccer coach or a referee to the rules of a soccer game, CFS keeps children “safe and their needs met.”

Community friendly cartoon images reflect the faces of Canada and those of newcomer families. The video also  illustrates key values and principles like how families can expect services to respect their cultural and linguistic heritage or to use the soccer analogy: “…regardless of the jersey we wear…we share the same values and love our children wanting them cared for.”

The need to develop a unique service delivery response in the Eastman Region is underscored by a population increase of 17 per cent over five years – or 2,300 people – in the city of Steinbach alone!

Originally supposed to be a brochure, the Region instead developed this video, and ultimately a new practice model, to better connect with anticipated newcomers in a manner that is respectful and responsive in understanding and addressing their service needs.

In addition to informing newcomer families and supporting them in accessing the assistance and programs available, the work has prompted a new type of service approach, including new partnerships contributing to excellence in service delivery, one that is having a much broader service delivery reach that ever anticipated.

For example, “Soccer for Dads” was developed as a program to help newcomers in the Steinbach area who are struggling with socialization, depression, language and finding employment. With 45 to 50 members, it’s a resounding success.

It is but one of the many new supports for children and their families that have evolved from the new practice model and community partnerships.

Perhaps most exciting is the positive community building work, resulting in novel partnerships and an increase in other positive community supports for children and families. Presentations are being sought and new relationships are being formed with schools, school divisions, child care centres, RCMP, women’s shelters, hospitals, religious groups and novel groups…like soccer clubs.