QBBE’s Family First Program is a vital resource for parents and students

QBBE’s Family First Program is a vital resource for parents and students

Rosie Awori (LJI)

The Quebec Board of Black Educators (QBBE), was formed 50 years ago as a way of addressing problems that Blacks were facing around the issue education all part of the ripple effects of the Sir George Williams Affair that rocked this city in early 1969.
And as the QBBE marks its jubilee anniversary, the organisation continues to provide our community with programs and workshops to assist us and other cultural groups better navigate Quebec’s education landscape.

One such initiative is the Family First -Parenting Support Program.
In a recent telephone conversation, QBBE’s communications liaison Rachel Diotte-Lyles spoke to the CONTACT about it.

“ Our research showed that a lot of parents might not know how to navigate the school governance system in Quebec, especially with the CEGEP system and as a result they can’t take full advantage of it for their children and make sure they’re getting the support they need,” she says

“Parents of low-income, single parent households in immigrant minority families are more often signaled by Youth Protection than the average,”
Lyles went on to explain.

“The program includes capacity building for parents to support their children’s success in academic achievements, a Referral Service to community-based resources to meet basic needs, and support for mental health and other psycho-social challenges facing Black families. It is responsive to real needs as expressed by the parents in our research with them.” 

While research has found that Black children in Montreal are roughly two times more likely to be reported to child protective services than white children, a study by McGill University assistant professor Alicia Boatswain-Kyte suggests that rate is even higher for English-speaking Black children — they are about five times more likely to be reported than white children.
Lyles says that the objectives Family First are twofold: one is to upgrade parenting knowledge and encourage better parenting practices, which she says leads to better performance and behavior at home and in school as well as greater perseverance to complete academic programs.
“Signaling of students is frequently for disciplinary measures that violate Quebec laws and regulations which most parents aren’t really familiar with. We can help with that.”
The other objective, she says is to reduce social isolation and marginalization of immigrant parents.

“We want to reduce their stress and anxiety and increase integration and full participation in the community and that way they can support their children to perform better.”

The Family First program will have 60 participants split into three groups and they will be trained by over three cycles for 12 weeks holding on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The sessions will cover topics such as parenting skills, home management, financial literacy, school governance system, conflict resolution, mental health, addiction and so much more. To register or get more information on the program contact Soukaina Hamia at soukaina.hamia@qbbe.ca