What is Connect?
Adolescence is a remarkable developmental period, in which children are transformed neurobiologically, cognitively and interpersonally as they prepare for adult roles and relationships. The confluence of these diverse changes makes adolescence a “sensitive” developmental period, where vulnerability increases but opportunities for growth are also heightened
Developed by Marlene Moretti, Professor and Canada Research Chair, in collaboration with government stakeholders and mental health practitioners, this evidence based, manualized 10-week program promotes social, emotional and behavioural adjustment and attachment security in children and youth between the ages of 8 and 18 years of age. Different versions of the program are available for use with parents, kinship and foster carers, and for staff working in group home, residential and hospital settings. Connect is available in English, French, Swedish and Italian.
Rather than teach the A-B-C’s of parenting, Connect© helps caregivers understand basic attachment concepts which can then be applied across a broad range of situations and relational contexts. A strength-based approach to supporting families, Connect© is consistent with trauma informed practice and is offered by a variety of professionals in settings such as schools, community agencies and mental health offices.
Connect has recently been adapted for a number of specialized populations including, Foster Parents and Parents and Caregivers of transgender youth. Connect is also available in English, French, Swedish, and Italian.
If you’re interested in joining a group in your area, please click here for a list of Upcoming Connect Parent Groups..
The eConnect Online program is an adaptation that builds on the strong evidence of the broadly implemented in-person Connect program. We have adapted the program to be delivered online using a secure videoconferencing platform. This support caregivers from different locations to come together online for highly interactive and engaging sessions with group facilitators and other caregivers, in real-time to learn about attachment and to practice how to apply this understanding to challenges they experience in their own families every day.
CONNECT FOR FOSTER PARENTS
Teens in foster care often struggle with challenges in relationships and with mental health difficulties. However their resilience can be encouraged through their foster parents’ support, empathy, and care. Indeed, while foster parents have not been traditionally viewed as ‘interventionists’ or ‘therapists’ in a primary sense, research shows that they can play an important role in providing foster teens a sense of security, stability and safety. Foster parents who receive support in understanding the impact of trauma on their child’s behaviour are better equipped to respond sensitively to challenging behavior. However, despite the central importance of attachment relationships for foster teens, there are surprisingly few evidence –based treatments, that consider the attachment needs, for this population.
A Connect Parent Group for Parents and Caregivers of Transgender Youth
Transforming Connections is a ten-week program that helps caregivers of gender non-conforming and trans teens (aged 12-18) understand their teens better and strengthen the parent-teen relationship. Caregivers meet in small groups (10 – 14) with two trained leaders for 1.5 hours. Each session provides caregivers with an attachment perspective on parent-teen relationships and adolescent development. Caregivers watch role plays, do exercises and learn new strategies to better support their teens.