About Adolescent Parent Interagency Network

The Adolescent Parent Interagency Network (APIN) is a group of agencies, professionals and peers in Manitoba who collaborate with the goal of ensuring high-quality service to young people who are pregnant or parenting, whether or not they are primary caregivers. Members of APIN have linked together because of their shared commitment to the challenges and opportunities facing these youth. APIN activities and events are coordinated by a volunteer steering committee of 10 to 16 members from diverse professional settings.

Steering Committee

Steering Committee members are expected to attend regularly scheduled meetings, support APIN events and bring forward relevant advocacy issues to the committee for discussion. Participation on the steering committee is open to individuals or representatives of agencies or groups who agree with APIN’s guiding principles. A minimum two-year commitment to the steering committee is encouraged.

The Executive group consists of the Steering Committee Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Past Chair and a representative of the Manitoba Government- Department of Families  (APIN Funder). The Executive responds to operational and funding issues related to the Steering Committee.

Steering Committee member – minimum two year commitment
Chair – two years
Vice Chair – two years (not an automatic move-up position)
Treasurer – indefinite

Past Chair – one year
All terms are reviewed and confirmed annually.

APIN contracts a Coordinator to facilitate administrative tasks. The Coordinator reports to the Executive for direction and feedback.

Mandate

Goals & Objectives

  1. To be a leader in advocating for adolescents and young adults (age 10-25), both individually and collectively, with regard to identifying gaps in service, shaping policy, promoting education and program development.

  2. To provide education related to sexual health, prevention, and pregnancy, to empower decision making related to pregnancy and parenting and to view all young parents as inherently good and capable.

  3. To facilitate the sharing of information related to existing services and resources.

  4. To enhance the services offered to young parents by providing networking and educational opportunities for service providers.

  5. To provide opportunities for young parents to access education and community resources and to share their experiences.

Guiding Principles

APIN is committed to promoting the health and wellness of young people who are pregnant or parenting by subscribing to the following principles:

  • Prevention – APIN believes that young people have the right to access information, education and resources on sexual-health issues, including prevention and unintended pregnancy options.
  • Options– APIN believes that young people have the right to non-judgmental information and counseling regarding abortion, adoption and parenting in order to make informed choices for themselves.
  • Decision-making – APIN believes in empowering and supporting young people in their decision-making regarding pregnancies and parenting.
  • Supports – APIN recognizes that young parents face many complex issues.  APIN believes that by connecting service providers through networking and educational opportunities, services to young parents will be enhanced.
  • Belief – APIN believes that young people are capable and can positively parent their children.

History

1982 – 2009

APIN has operated since 1982, with a two-year gap in the early 1990s. APIN developed in 1982 in response to a report by the Community Task Force on Maternal and Child Health. It recognized the need for more and better services for pregnant and parenting adolescents and the value in better communication among service providers.

In 1986 the Network drew up a constitution. By the early 1990s, APIN had 850 members province-wide. With government cutbacks in 1992, the province withdrew its financial and administrative support forcing the cancellation of the newsletter. Membership declined.

In 1994, a partnership composed of New Directions (formerly the Children’s Home of Winnipeg), Winnipeg Public Health, Winnipeg City Social Services, The Family Centre of Winnipeg, Villa Rosa, and Marymound developed a proposal to secure funding from Brighter Futures. The goals were to resurrect the Network and expand membership to include all relevant individuals and organizations working with pregnant and parenting adolescents. A grant was received and APIN was re-established.

In 1999, APIN received continued funding from Program 8, Innovative and Preventive Child and Family Services, of the tri-partite Winnipeg Development Agreement. APIN continued with funding from the Winnipeg Development Agreement until 2002 when funding was received from Healthy Child Manitoba. Healthy Child Manitoba continues to fund APIN.

In 2003/2004 APIN was part of a project with Healthy Child Manitoba creating a pregnancy options video for teens and the professionals working with them. The video and corresponding print materials titled “Your Choice for Your Reasons” was launched and distributed free of charge throughout the Province.

APIN continues to publish a regular newsletter, evolving from publishing six times a year to four. APIN has moved to a larger distribution of the newsletter by email as more members have access to email and to provide a better alternative for the environment.

Until 2005, APIN provided an annual spring conference which involved both adolescents and the professionals working with them. APIN decided that having two separate conferences would better meet the needs of the adolescents and professionals. The spring conference is now only for professionals working with adolescents and the fall conference is for pregnant and parenting adolescents.

In May 2009, APIN held its first Western Regional Conference inviting participants from Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. The keynote speaker was Dr. Harvey Karp. By all accounts the conference was a great success.

2010 – 2020

APIN is a group of professionals in Manitoba who collaborate with the goal of supporting best practice for services provided to youth who are pregnant and parenting into their early twenties, whether or not they are primary caregivers. APIN has been in operation since 1982.

The current APIN steering committee consists of volunteers from agencies/organizations such as Mount Carmel Clinic, Villa Rosa, Marymound, New Directions, Adolescent Parent Centre, Healthy Start for Mom and Me, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Child and Family Services, Women’s Health Clinic, Family Dynamics, St. Boniface Hospital and Health Sciences Centre (Women’s Hospital). The coordinator position is the only paid position. Planners Plus had been contracted to fulfill the duties of coordinator since 2008, but in 2018 the contract was not renewed. In 2019, this position was filled by a successful candidate. The steering committee meets monthly.

APIN currently has a distribution list of over 450 individuals or agencies/organizations that receive resources/information/invites to events from APIN through email. 

APIN continues to be funded by the Manitoba Government.

As per APIN’s Terms of Reference, APIN holds:

  • An annual conference for service providers:

    Historically, APIN conferences were held in Winnipeg but in 2015, the steering committee made the decision to include conferences in rural locations. To date, rural conferences have been held in Portage La Prairie and Winkler. Conference topics included:

    • 2010 – Understand, Reach Out and Connect with Youth
    • 2011 – Vulnerable Youth + Pregnancy = Opportunity for Change
    • 2012 – Teen Pregnancy and Parenting: Embracing the Reality
    • 2013 – Teen Parenting: From Trauma to Resilience
    • 2014 – Maternal Mental Health: Navigating Challenges with Teen Parents
    • 2015 – Creating Culturally Safe Practice with Adolescent Parents – Lessons from the Field
    • 2016 – The Teenage Brain: Understanding Teen Pregnancy From The Inside Out
    • 2017 – No Teen Shame: Supporting Dignity for Pregnant and Parenting Youth
    • 2018 – Strengthening Adolescent Parent Led Families

  • An annual conference for adolescent/young parents and their children – Adolescent Parent Day:
    This free event consists of educational information/opportunities for adolescent/young parents and fun activities for their children. Some examples of topics that have been presented are immunization, positive body image, healthy relationships, beginning university successfully, safe dating, attachment, and OK, not OK during pregnancy. Every year, there has been very positive feedback from this event.

  • Lunch and Learns/Brown Bag Lunches:
    These knowledge exchange opportunities are held three times per year and target professionals working with pregnant and/or young parents.  They are held in Winnipeg but organizations/programs/services outside of Winnipeg can participate through Telehealth.

 

One of APIN’s goals is to be a leader in advocating for pregnant and young parents, both individually and collectively, with regard to identifying gaps in service, shaping policy, promoting education and program development. In 2010, APIN started advocating for safe and affordable housing for adolescent parents in Winnipeg. It included meetings with Manitoba Housing and the Minister of Housing and Community Development and had resulted in some positive changes to the application process. In 2013, APIN continued this advocacy role by supporting Make Poverty History Manitoba. APIN also advocated for pregnant and/or parenting youth with the Child Care Registry (gaps and challenges for pregnant and young parent applicants) and rural development (looking for gaps in supports/programs available to pregnant and parenting adolescents in rural Manitoba).    

In 2011, APIN’s Website was updated to be more user friendly. Currently APIN is developing a Facebook page, which will be going live February 2020. The page will include resources, invites to APIN events, etc.

In 2013, APIN became an adhoc member of the NorWest Network which works towards having a voice with the Child Welfare System.

In 2018, APIN collaborated with New Directions to create the video “Your Body, Your Pregnancy, Your Choice”, replacing the 2002 video, “Your Choice for Your Reasons”. This video was launched at an event on December 13, 2018. It provides accurate information around the reproductive choices, abortion and adoption. It also discusses parenting challenges and some of the supports available to those who choose parenting.

In 2019, the APIN Steering Committee started planning the Spring 2020 Conference for service providers. The topic of this large conference was “Working in the Context of Indigenous Health: A decolonized and trauma-informed informed approach to supporting young parents” and Renee Linklater, PhD was to be the keynote speaker. Unfortunately, in early 2020, everything in the world changed due to Covid19. Manitoba had its first case of Covid19 in March and strict restrictions followed. The 2020 May Conference was postponed and even though APIN tried to reschedule, restrictions on group sizes and travel made it impossible. APIN, like many other organizations had to adapt and change the way we do things. In September 2020, APIN hosted its first virtual Lunch and Learn, “The Rainbow Alphabet”. In October, the annual Adolescent Parent Day, which is usually held at the Norwood Hotel, went virtual. The topic for the event was “Racism and Privilege”, with Michael Redhead Champagne. The event received very positive feedback. It was open to both adolescent/young parents and service providers.

APIN continues to provide presentations and workshops virtually. In early 2021, “Traditional Family Parenting” and three sessions of “Pandemic Fatigue Workshop” were presented and many more are planned. The APIN committee now realizes that doing these presentations virtually reaches more participants, including service providers in First Nation Communities.

In January 2020, APIN launched a new Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/Adolescent-Parent-Interagency-Network-100103784743885/.  The APIN Facebook page includes upcoming APIN events as well as information and resources from other community agencies/organizations that support pregnant and parenting youth.