A unique approach to supporting parents with culturally relevant programs is being developed with African Nova Scotian families and government. Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage and African Nova Scotian Affairs Tony Ince, on behalf of Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard, announced today, Feb. 25, initiatives to include knowledge of African culture and values into services for parents. “The community has long recognized the need for cultural competency and sensitivity,” said Mr. Ince. “Increasing resources to develop culturally relevant programs is a good start. We’re hopeful that this will benefit parents and children moving forward.” The East Preston Family Resource Centre is developing a culturally relevant Parenting Journey program for African Nova Scotian families in partnership with the Department of Community Services. It is a home visitation program for families experiencing complex family, social and economic challenges. Another initiative announced is The Nurturing Strong African Nova Scotian Families program. It will train facilitators from African Nova Scotian communities who will then offer programs for parents around the province. The first training session for 12 facilitators is expected to begin in May. “We are excited to build on our success with the Parenting Journey program in the African Nova Scotian communities, with the support of our elders and all community members,” said Trina Fraser, executive director of the East Preston Family Resource Centre. The province’s largest African Nova Scotian population live in the communities of East and North Preston, Cherrybrook, Lake Loon and Dartmouth East. The resource centre will work with the communities and the department to develop more culturally competent approaches, such as including spiritual leaders as partners along with school and health professionals. Elders who have raised successful families will be available to give advice and guidance for young parents. “I’m pleased that we will be working directly with the community to identify solutions and strengths,” said Mr. Ince. Funding is part of the $1.2 million announced in November for Stronger Families NS, which is designed to strengthen early intervention and prevention programs. Culturally relevant programs are also being created with Aboriginal and Acadian communities.