Stettler residents no longer have to travel for family planning, pregnancy services – Bashaw Star

Stettler Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Center Acting Director Jenessa McAuley cuts the ribbon held outside the door by Mayor Sean Nolls and Donna Morris of the Stettler Regional Board of Trade, celebrating the facility’s grand opening. (Kevin Sabo/Castor Advance)
The Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Center offers a 24-hour helpline for area residents.  (Kevin Sabo/Stettler Independent)The Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Center offers a 24-hour helpline for area residents. (Kevin Sabo/Stettler Independent)

Residents of East Central Alberta with planned and unexpected pregnancies now have a care center located in Stettler, offering a variety of supports.

The Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Center opened the doors to its latest location on May 1, celebrated with a grand opening, joining offices in Red Deer, Old, Rocky Mountain House and Drumheller.

One of the most peculiar things about the center is, its almost all-volunteer acting Stettler director, Jenessa McAuley, said in a recent interview with the Stettler Independent.

“We are not a medical establishment,” she said. “We always refer our clients to appropriate health care.”

The center is able to provide pregnancy tests, as well as consultations that link patients to family planning, abortion and sexual health services.

Volunteers engage in a rigorous 10-week training course, followed by several months of orientation, and support clients in making important decisions — sometimes very difficult and emotional, McAuley said.

Don’t forget, the Central Alberta Pregnancy Center also offers a Men’s Mentorship Program – delivered by male volunteers – as well as a 24/7 Dad Program.

“Dads act differently. Programs aren’t necessarily focused on parenting,” McAuley said, adding that sometimes mentoring focuses on being a better spouse or navigating co-parenting.

Thanks to modern technology, the center is also able to organize virtual appointments between clients and volunteers. The new center connects parents to the maternity ward

For clients who need additional support once their baby arrives, expectant mothers will now have access to the organization’s maternity ward in Red Deer.

Clients who meet the criteria can enter the program during the prenatal phase and remain there until their child is two or three years old.

Although most of the center’s programs are offered free of charge, clients living in the maternity ward pay a small amount to help pay for rent, utilities, and food expenses.

The facility is staffed 24/7 by volunteers and members with various qualifications and expertise, as well as social workers.

There are two phases to living in the house: communal living and individual private rooms.

McAuley noted that the maternity ward is not emergency housing, but rather a supportive environment for clients and their children.

Although the organization receives funding from government agencies, such as Family and Community Support Services, most funds for the centers come from private donors.

Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centers can be contacted online at www.pregnancycare.ca or through their 24-hour helpline at 403-343-1619.

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