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Lethbridge-East MLA announces funding for southern Alberta programs to help prevent child abuse

Lethbridge East MLA Maria Fitzpatrick, who has been vocal about being a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of her husband, poses for a photo in Lethbridge, Alberta, on Sunday, November 29, 2015.
Lethbridge East MLA Maria Fitzpatrick, who has been vocal about being a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of her husband, poses for a photo in Lethbridge, Alberta, on Sunday, November 29, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Rossiter

The Alberta government is reinforcing its commitment to work with community partners to prevent child abuse and said Monday it was providing almost $160,000 in funding to two southern Alberta programs.

“I don’t know a family that isn’t dysfunctional,” Lethbridge-East MLA Maria Fitzpatrick said Monday.

Fitzpatrick said the announcement was an important one for her.

For nearly a decade she was victimized by her husband.  One time, she said he held her daughters and mother in-law at gunpoint.

WATCH:  Lethbridge East MLA Maria Fitzpatrick gets emotional speaking about past domestic abuse

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“I can only speak from my own experience, that when families experience things like violence, that is not healthy for the kids… and it is something that will stick with them throughout their lives, even when you fix the situation.”

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Fitzpatrick said more than $120,000 is going to the Opokaa’sin Early Intervention Society for its Building Stronger Urban Aboriginal Families project. Last year, the program helped more than 80 vulnerable families.

“The program aimed at really taking a look at at parent and mentoring… also providing access to community supports and resources through cultural activities… (it’s) a strength-based approach,” Tanya Pace-Crosschild, executive director of the Opokaa’sin Early Intervention Society, said.

Another $35,000 is going to the Crowsnest Pass Women’s Resource Centre for its Mentoring Moms program.

“(We) will continue those funds to operate for the next two years… I would certainly like to see that it go beyond the next two years but that is not my place to say,” Fitzpatrick said.

The funding announcement comes during National Child Abuse Prevention month and although the future of funding is uncertain, the hope is these programs will bring some families one step close to ending the cycle of abuse.

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