The “Discovery” in Discovery House is about the programs, services and innovative therapies that help women and children heal and rebuild their lives, free from domestic violence. Each family is assigned an adult intensive case manager, children & youth case manager, mental health clinician, and housing liaison. Women and their children (0-18) have barrier-free access to our trauma-informed, inclusive, and culturally appropriate continuum of prevention and intervention programs and services. Programs are evidence-based or promising best practice, responsive to the need of the family, and flexible to allow for proportionate and responsive delivery to the degree and level of presenting need. All Discovery House staff are Brain Story Certified through the Palix Foundation and all staff receive regular and extensive training on trauma informed practice.
Access to basic needs and community resources
Case managers work with families to ensure their basic needs are met and provide support, referrals, and advocacy. Community resources include food banks, move-in deposits, household supplies and legal supports.
Clinical mental health support
Mental health clinicians (RSW, MSW, and Psychologists) provide individual and group counselling, as well as resources to recover from physical, emotional and psychological issues such as anxiety and depression.
ATTACH™: Program & Collaboration with Dr. Nicole Letourneau, University of Calgary and in partnership with Harvard Center on the Developing Child, Frontiers of Innovation. This intervention program helps moms mitigate the negative impact of trauma on their children caused by domestic violence. The program is focused on improving reflective function, children’s attachment security, parent-child relationships and child health and development for at-risk mothers and children <72 months of age. Toxic stressors place children at risk for insecure attachment, altered parent-child relationship quality and altered health and developmental trajectories, including immune function. Parental reflective function, i.e. parents’ capacity to understand their own and their child’s mental states and thus regulate their own feelings and behavior toward their child, buffers the negative effects of toxic stress on children.
Child Development Centre (CDC): A cornerstone intervention to help children meet their developmental milestones and utilizes sensory play, arts and crafts, general play, reading, and songs. The CDC is also used as a trauma informed childcare space to support other programs for moms.
Working for Kids: Developed by Dr. Judy Cameron, a neuroscientist from the University of Pittsburgh who is a member of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child at Harvard University, and was a member of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Network on Early Experience and Brain Development. This educational platform is based on neuroscience principles that uses novel, recently developed, hands-on educational tools that teaches adults how the brain develops and how factors in a child's environment shape brain development. The program provides methods/tools that moms can employ to help their children develop into healthy adults. Adults are empowered to help children improve their language skills, problem-solving skills and social-emotional skills - setting children on an upward trajectory for success in life. Discovery House participates in research for Working for Kids and ran its first independent cohort in 2018/19. The program has started to be tested in the United States, and Discovery House is leading the way in being part of the first evaluation of the program in a Canadian community affected by high ACEs.
After School Program: School-aged children receive help with homework and engage in activities that incorporate brain science. This program is delivered in partnership with Awo Taan.
Kids' Club: Group-based intervention for children aged six to twelve (Grade 4-6) who have experienced domestic violence. It is designed to enhance the child’s sense of safety, develop the therapeutic alliance and create a common vocabulary of emotions. While children are at Kids' Club, moms are participating in Mom's Empowerment.
SNAP®: Affiliate & Collaboration with Child Development Institute SNAP® stands for Stop Now And Plan, and is an evidence-based gender sensitive, trauma-informed multi-component cognitive behavioural model developed over 33 years ago by the Child Development Institute. The primary goal of SNAP is to help children (aged 6-17) who are struggling with disruptive behavioural issues to stop and think before they act, and keep them in school and out of trouble. SNAP provides a framework for teaching effective emotional regulation, self-control, and problem solving skills to parents and their children. Discovery House is currently the only SNAP affiliate in Calgary. SNAP has undergone continual evaluation and research and is proven to reduce crime by 18-33% (Farrington, Koegl, 2015) while also improving parent-child relationships. Participation in SNAP is shown to change brain activity from ventral to dorsal regions, signifying emotional self-regulation and intentional cognitive control (Stieben, 2005).
Financial Empowerment: Financial literacy programming helps women understand and take control of their finances. All case managers are trained in financial coaching to assist with budgeting, saving and taxes.
Dollars and Sense/Matched Savings Program - a group based program for adults to build financial literacy and savings techniques. Women work to save money for an asset and that money is matched by a Calgary-based Financial Empowerment Collective funded by the United Way of Calgary and Area
Education Savings Program - women learn about RESP's and are assisted with opening an RESP. This program is part of the ASPIRE Calgary Financial Empowerment Collective and is funded by Momentum
Financial Coaching - All adult case managers are trained to provide Financial Coaching to women as part of the ASPIRE Calgary Financial Empowerment Collective. This is led by Carya and training provided by Momentum and Bow Valley College
Taxation and Benefits - Discovery House's Senior Controller works with women to complete their income taxes, which is required to obtain government benefits
Hands Up Bursary: Established by a local philanthropic family, the bursary
provides financial support to women pursuing post-secondary education.
Since its inception in 2007, the bursary has awarded more than $450,000 to
Discovery House clients.
Moms' Empowerment: Group-based program (8 sessions) for mothers who have experience domestic violence. It is designed to support and enhance emotional regulation, parenting and disciplinary skills. The facilitator leads conversations while creating a safe space for moms to learn and talk about their own experience and feelings.
Parenting After Domestic Violence: A 12-week group-based program for parents who have left an abusive situation and would like support with family literacy. Topics include emotional wellness, understanding anger, single parenting, family patterns, boundaries, and others.
Women's Wellness: Group-based program rooted in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CTB) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) designed to help women focus on their own healing, and improve their ability to cope with stress, anxiety, and distress. DBT is based on CBT with greater focus on emotional and social aspects.
Equine Assisted Learning: In a partnership with Equine Connections, clients have the opportunity to interact with horses, which helps restore confidence and trust so they can move forward with their lives.
Yorticulture: Yoga therapy is partnered with community gardening – two highly restorative and regenerative activities that allows women and children to connect with nature and reduce stress. Clients and staff meet in the Inglewood Community Garden to work on mindfulness and activity-based counselling. Much of the harvest is provided to families accessing Discovery House programming.
We work in partnership with other agencies and organizations to provide a full suite of services to our clients, including: