If you have concerns about a child call: 905.333.4441

Meet Rabab

"We are able to provide an individual approach and build on family strengths"

Rabab is a caseworker with the Bridging Families Program.

Bridging Families is an initiative between the Halton Children’s Aid Society (Halton CAS) and Halton Women’s Place that provides services to families experiencing domestic violence. Through Bridging Families, the two agencies apply their expertise in protection and domestic violence to provide women and children with the best services available in one place.

“This is new and creative work,” says Rabab. “In many cases, we can reach out to women in the community where domestic violence is hidden and may go unreported. We are able to provide an individual approach and build on family strengths. We empower women to take control of their lives and to make positive choices for themselves and their children. We respond within 24 hours and there is no waiting list for our service.”

When the Halton CAS identifies concerns regarding domestic violence in the course of their work, they complete a referral form for Bridging Families.

“Our service meets with women and children in their natural environment including the family home, a park, local coffee shops or the library. Women in situations of domestic violence often find it hard to go out. I have the flexibility to adjust my work schedule to meet a woman’s particular needs. For example, if a mother works, I can meet with her in the evening. If there is a crisis, we can always make arrangements to have someone there right away.”

The significance of the name Bridging Families . . .

Bridging Families is the program that bridges families to community resources to help families create healthy relationships and ensure children’s safety. The program provides many services including safety planning, short-term counselling, advocacy and information and referrals to community resources. For example, women often need information regarding how to go to court, how to apply for custody, what their rights are and how to complete applications. We help women get the right information at no cost. As well, we work with many dedicated lawyers who specialize in the area of domestic violence.

“Many women come to us saying they feel bad, they feel a sense of hopelessness and feel guilty about their experience of domestic violence. Their feelings can be addressed in individual counselling; however, we also provide group counselling. One of the important components of Bridging Families is education. We run educational counselling groups such as Forms of Abuse, Cycle of Abuse, Power and Control, Addressing the Guilt and the Blame, Parenting, Self Esteem, Coping with Stress and Self Care. The groups are capped at eight women to provide a comfortable setting where they are able to express their feelings and build a rapport with the other participants.”

The group gives women two hours to focus on themselves while their children engage in play therapy with a child and youth worker.

While the Society’s main focus is ensuring the safety and well-being of children, through Bridging Families it provides additional support and links to community services for families. The Halton CAS strives first to keep families together and provides every support possible for the family.

“Last year, the two Halton CAS Community Protection Supervisors and I made a presentation about Bridging Families titled “Innovative Services in Violence Against Women That Work” for a forum at Laurier University. After our presentation, we received a standing ovation!”

“I love my work and find it challenging and rewarding. I have worked with women who are now completing their high school diplomas and others who are attending post-secondary institutions. This is something they never thought they were capable of doing before our involvement. You should see how much they have changed–and this energizes me. They are now strong and full of life. It’s just beautiful to see.”

“I am proud to offer services and education for women to let them make their own decisions–to connect them with their power.”