PARTNERS Family Services Inc., formerly known as PARTNERS for Rural Family Support, is a charitable, non-profit organization consisting of concerned individuals working together to identify, develop, improve, and maintain support of families in Humboldt and surrounding rural communities. This grassroots organization originated in 1997, when one of Humboldt’s mental health workers received a phone call from a woman who was looking for a support group for survivors of family violence. Each agency she called told her the closest group was in Saskatoon.
The mental health worker phoned the Saskatoon Family Support Center. With their help a support group was offered in Humboldt. The response was overwhelming and within three hours there was enough women to offer the first group. At a meeting of community workers in November 1997, it became evident that a partnership was required to supplement and complement services already existing in our rural area.
A partnership with The Centre for Rural Studies and Enrichment, the Universities of Regina and Saskatchewan, and Central Plains Health District enabled a research project entitled, “Domestic Violence and the Experiences of Rural Women in East Central Saskatchewan.” The project report recommended that family abuse information be made more readily accessible to families in rural communities.
In June 2001, PARTNERS facilitated a Stake Holder’s Action Meeting where we looked for help in generating a framework for action. Since then, various groups and sectors have worked together to develop solutions and responses to the issue.
The PARTNERS for Rural Family Support Centre opened its doors in September of 2001 and has since integrated more extensive partnering with the Departments of Justice, Health, Education, Social Services, Mental Health Services, RESOLVE Saskatchewan, local and regional organizations and agencies, as well as the religious community.
The centre has offered support groups for many survivors of family violence in the rural Humboldt area since its inception in 1997. Requests for services have increased steadily and programs have been implemented and delivered to meet those needs depending on funding availability.
In celebration of the 10 year anniversary of the organization, a conversation café was conducted with various stakeholders involved with PARTNERS for Rural Family Support. Two questions were posed to the participants: firstly how has PARTNERS contributed to the community over the last 10 yeas and secondly where does the community see the organization in the next 10 years? From the results of this process rebranding of the organization and intensive proposal writing resulted in the organization becoming significantly funded through the Ministry of Social Services, Child and Family Services for the Child and Family Services Program and the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General for the Family Violence Outreach Program.
PARTNERS Family Services, formerly PARTNERS for Rural Family Support, continues to work with community service providers to identify, develop, improve and maintain supports to families that live in Humboldt and the surrounding rural region. We see our work as an integral part of healthy community living in rural Saskatchewan.