Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay group hopes to bring back Block Parent program

A newly formed local committee is hoping to bring the Block Parent program back to Thunder Bay.
Block Parent, a popular crime prevention program years ago, might come back to the Thunder Bay area with the help of a new group rallying to tackle child safety issues in the community. (www.blockparent.ca)

A newly formed local committee is hoping to bring the Block Parent program back to Thunder Bay.

The crime prevention program, popular in the 1980s and 1990s, invites people who have undergone police checks to place Block Parents signs in their windows so children in distress in the neighbourhood know where can go for help or a safe haven.

"We've had a lot of issues in the city as everybody knows,” said Wendy Scott-Ligate, who is trying to spearhead a revival of the program.

“The morale in the city is slowly slipping away and people want to make sure that the city is safe for their kids.  It's something I strongly believe in.  I have grandchildren and I want to make sure that the streets are going to be safe for them."

Wendy Scott-Ligate is in a group of give people hoping to bring back the Block Parent safety program. (Courtesy Wendy Scott-Ligate)

Every adult in a household that wants to do Block Parenting would have to go through a screening process, she said.  Police would also have access to the list of people participating.

Ligate said the old Block Parent signs could easily be duplicated using today's easily-accessible colour printing technology.

She has also reached out to app developers to see if they would design a mobile app to let children know where the safe houses were as a way of adapting the program to the more technology friendly times.

"Ninety per cent of the kids that are out there now have access to cell phones or iPads — all those kinds of electronics that an app could easily be put into,” she said.

Ligate said the revival effort is currently run by a committee of five.

She said they still need to research questions such as whether the group would need insurance.

Ligate has been in touch with a group in Spruce Grove, Alta that recently brought Block Parents back to that community, she said.  They've pledged to share everything they've learned with the Thunder Bay group.

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