Circle of Parents program designed to prevent frustration, child abuse

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 28, 2003

The mission of the Circle of Parents program is to prevent child abuse and neglect by promoting positive parenting, healthy families and homes where children are valued and loved.

Circle of Parents support groups and education classes target the parents of children of all ages. Our program is intended to serve anyone who parents (single parents, grandparents, step-parents, foster parents, etc.) who are seeking to provide safe and nurturing homes for their children. Circle of Parents serves anyone who is striving to improve their parenting skills as well as parents and children who have experienced abuse and/or neglect, parents who are looking to prevent abuse from occurring. Barb Sorum, Program Coordinator of Circle of Parents, said that caregivers &uot;come for a lot of different reasons.&uot; Some come seeking support while raising a foster or adopted child, to learn how to deal with a blended family situations, or learn how to trust, talk and gain respect from their teenager. &uot;We want to support whoever walks through the door,&uot; Sorum said. This program benefits children, families, and ultimately, the community.

Any parent in the area who is feeling isolated, frustrated or angry with their children, losing control, overwhelmed with the demands of parenting, under a great deal of stress, or looking for help in becoming a better parent would benefit from Circle of Parents programs.

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It’s a place where parents can really talk, exchange ideas, support, information and resources. Given the opportunity to vent frustrations and/or celebrate successes with others who understand (been there, done that) has proven to reduce incidences of abuse or neglect within their homes.

&uot;It’s actually a very healthy place for parents to get information and learn about parenting,&uot; Sorum said, &uot;parents need to talk to people who ‘get it’ and receive some much needed reassurances.&uot;

Though the group’s goal is to help parents and caregivers, their main mission is to &uot;prevent child abuse…we want to make sure kids are safe,&uot; Sorum said, along with helping parents to understand that &uot;sometimes it’s okay to let your kids be who they are, develop their own sense of style, personality and creative thinking.&uot;

For more information, contact Barb at 377-7665.

Contact the United Way if you are interested in making a donation, 373-8670 or write to: The United Way, 341 S. Broadway Ave., Albert Lea, MN 56007.