First Step Women’s Shelter employs a number of people to ensure that they meet the needs of women and their children who utilize our services. This includes those women and their children who decide to reside at the shelter as well as those who utilize our crisis line and Transitional Housing & Support Program for support and information.
FRONT LINE COUNSELLORS
The Front Line Counsellor is the first contact person for anyone calling the Shelter. It is their responsibility to gather information to determine the needs of the woman and her children if applicable, i.e. safety, support, referrals, etc.. When the needs and wishes of the woman have been established and this may include the needs of her children if applicable, the Front Line Counsellor makes the necessary arrangements as agreed to by the woman, i.e. travel, liaison with another shelter, police, etc.). The safety and security of the woman and her children is the first priority of a Front Line Counsellor.
The Front Line Counsellor is also responsible for the daily operations of the Shelter, i.e. screening phone calls, supervision of meal preparations, security checks, developing safety plans, etc.) as well as providing support and necessary crisis intervention. It is the sole responsibility of the Front Line Counsellor to ensure a safe and secure environment for the women and children by monitoring and screening people entering or leaving the shelter.
The Counselling Program is to provide community-based general counselling, support and referral services for women and their children who have experienced abuse and/or sexual assault, including historic sexual abuse in childhood in order that they may live free of violence.
TRANSITIONAL HOUSING & SUPPORT WORKER
The Transitional Housing & Support Program delivers a variety of services to women requiring information/assistance living outside the Shelter. Often these services relate directly to the personal goals of the woman and most importantly assists in making the transition from living within an abusive relationship to living a life which is violence-free. The program connects women to necessary community supports such as: housing; counselling; parenting support; education upgrading; job training; income support; legal aid; and health and wellness services.
CHILD AND YOUTH PROGRAM
The child care worker provide effective support service and assistance to meet the needs of the children residing in the Shelter. Those involved with the Child and Youth Program develop and implement craft, recreation and play activities and encourage mothers to participate in their programs. They also advocate for a child’s personal, physical, emotional and sexual safety as well as personal growth. The mother is always responsible for the care, safety and well-being of her children.