Thunder Bay

Dilico hopes community safety award will raise profile of youth intervention program

Dilico Anishinabek Family Care is hoping some recent community recognition will help raise the profile of its SNAP program.

SNAP program works with children with behavioural problems and their caregivers

Dilico Anishinabek Family Care is hopeful a recent award from the City of Thunder Bay will help raise the profile of its SNAP program, which works with children with behavioural issues and their caregivers. (Dilico Anishinabek Family Care/Provided)

Dilico Anishinabek Family Care is hoping some recent community recognition will help raise the profile of its SNAP program.

SNAP, which stands for Stop Now and Plan, works with children with behavioural issues and their families, said Michelle Bak, manager of the program and Dilico's school-based intensive treatment services.

"The SNAP program is an internationally-recognized, evidence-based, cognitive behavioural model," Bak said. "We teach children age 6-11. The kids that we work with struggle with behavioural issues, emotional regulation, problem-solving, self-control."

The program works with the children and their caregivers over the course of 13 weeks, teaching them strategies that can be used at home to help the children work on problem behaviours, she said.

"We've worked with over 150 children and their families within the City of Thunder Bay," Bak said. "We deliver the program in partnership with Children's Centre Thunder Bay, so they send us their referrals."

"The outcomes are incredibly successful," she said. "We're seeing significant change, really reducing risks associated with developing those anti-social, or conduct behaviours in children."

Bak said the program works with the "toughest three per cent of children."

"These are kids who are really, really struggling," she said. "They're at risk of being involved in the justice system, they're having lots of bullying issues at school, lots of suspensions."

"Schools, community partners, and families are reporting that overall, they're achieving much-better success as a result of the program."

Despite the program's success, Bak said there's still a lack of awareness in the city about the SNAP program itself.

But she hopes the recent Community Safety Award given to the program by the City of Thunder Bay could help change that.

"We're always looking for referrals," she said. "I think as far as the community knowledge goes, we've got a bit of room to grow for community partners knowing that we're out there, and knowing that this service is available to all families in the City of Thunder Bay."

"We'd love to work with more children and families."

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