Family & Community Support Services

FCSS logo

Cardston and District FCSS

(View complete list of Programs below)

Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) provide preventative social services to the residents of Cardston and the surrounding area through direct programs and services to the community as well as a range of services offered through FCSS-funded community organizations. 

Cardston & District FCSS has a significant impact on the social fabric of our community and the quality of life for our citizens. Our organization was made possible through a funding partnership between the four member Municipalities (Town of Cardston, Cardston County, Village of Glenwood, and the Village of Hill Spring) together with the Province of Alberta. We fund prevention based social programs that enhance individuals, families, or communities, social well-being in one or more of the following ways:

  • Help people to develop independence, strengthen coping skills and resistance to crisis;

  • Help people to develop an awareness of social needs;

  • Help people to develop interpersonal and group skills which enhance constructive relationships among people;

  • Help people and communities to assume responsibility for decisions and actions which affect them; and

  • Provide supports that help sustain people as active participants in the community.

Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) is a unique 80/20 funding partnership between the Government of Alberta and participating municipalities or Métis Settlements. Provincially, the FCSS Program receives its mandate from the Family and Community Support Services Act and Regulation.

At the local level, a municipality or Métis Settlement Council chooses whether to establish an FCSS Program and enters into an agreement with the Government of Alberta to jointly fund projects/services. These projects/services depend on community resources, often involving volunteers in management and delivery.

The FCSS philosophy is based on a belief that self-help contributes to a sense of integrity, self-worth and independence. Programs developed are intended to help individuals in their community to adopt healthy lifestyles, thereby improving the quality of life and building the capacity to prevent and/or deal with crisis situations should they arise.

One of the key principles of the FCSS Program is local responsibility for priority setting and resource allocation. Within the parameters of the FCSS Act and Regulation, each municipality or Métis Settlement determines how the FCSS funding they receive should be allocated to best meet the needs of their community. Local FCSS Programs are part of the larger provincial Program that collectively helps to ensure that Albertans have access to a strong network of prevention supports.

A number of FCSS resources and publications such as the FCSS Program Handbook and the FCSS Program Advice Inventory Listing are available on the Alberta Human Services website HERE

The Cardston and District FCSS office is located at the Town Office, at 67 – 3 Ave. W. in Cardston, Alberta.

FCSS Director:

Terah Thesen
Mailing Address: Box 280 Cardston, Alberta, T0K 0K0
Phone: (403) 653-5036

Advisory Board:

Chair; Candace Atwood, Cardston County Member-At-Large
Vice-Chair; Sharon Quinton, Town of Cardston Member-At-Large
Cou. Paula Brown, Town of Cardston Council Rep. 
Cou. Royce Leavitt, Cardston County Council Rep.
Deputy Reeve Kevin Quinton, Alternate Cardston County Rep.
Cou. Myron Lybbert, Village of Glenwood Council Rep.
Mayor Dwight Davis, Village of Hill Spring Council Rep. 
Tanis Hardy, Town of Cardston Member-At-Large
Susan Wilde, Cardston County Member-At-Large
Peggy Sanders, Town of Cardston Member-At-Large

Mountain View Student Leadership Project

Location: Mountain View School
Time: Twice Monthly on Fridays

Annual Community Awareness Evening

*This event occurs annually in November.

Community Awareness Evening gives families the opportunity to learn about the “help services” that are provided in the community by local agencies and outreach programs that come into the area. The evening provides a venue for service providers and families to meet and learn about one another. Families become familiar with the services and put a face to the provider. This helps them feel more comfortable when accessing their service.

A spin-off of the evening is the opportunity for local agencies to network with other agencies and learn about their services and ways they can compliment and reinforce each other.

Contact Info:
Kathy Richards, (403) 653-4911

The Caring Connection

WHEN:  Tuesdays 7:00pm-9:00pm

WHERE: Provincial Building, South Doors; 576 Main Street Cardston, Alberta

The Caring Connection offers Resource, Support Groups and Workshops in the Cardston area to bring Wellness Strategies, Mind, Body, Emotional, Spiritual, and Relational Self-Care Experiences, both personal and professional, that can bring awareness and healing to compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress and burnout. Affirmations of self and others, acknowledging fears, emotions and building relationships, creating and restoring social supports, listening skills, acknowledging boundaries, making powerful requests are some of the classes we hold. Meditation, circle drumming and laughter yoga balance the educational resources that we provide.

Regular groups and TBA series of classes are offered though the year.

Support Group: 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month at the Conference Room in the Cardston Provincial Building 6-7 PM

Resource Group: 2nd & 4th Tuesday of the month 2-3 Chinook Lodge; 3:15-4:15 Lee Crest

Contact Info:
Kathryn Jensen, RN, PBMH, 403-653-2073  

Parent Link Centre (PLC)

Summer Programs

Parent Link Centre’s Summer Youth Programs provide an opportunity for youth ages 6-12 to participate and interact with other youth during the summer months when they are not in school.

The free programs allow youth, regardless of their financial means to enjoy a wide variety of programs. Over 200 programming hours are offered in July and August and there is something that appeals to all youth.

New skills are learned and important self care tips shared. For youth that have two working parents it is an opportunity to be with other youth and spend their days in constructive activities under the supervision of a qualified instructor.

This no- cost opportunity provides a great venue to be with peers and participate in activities that are both rewarding and fun.

Contact: Sonja Richards for Program Times (403) 653-7077

Parenting Programs

Seven parenting programs are offered throughout the year at the Parent Link Centre with more being added as facilitators are trained.

Parenting Programs teach coping skills and techniques that help parents build positive attachment. They encourage positive parent-child interaction and promote age appropriate activities. The programs help parents understand and watch for developmental milestones and provide helps that will aid the child’s development.

Each program focuses on a different stage of parenting but together they cover the newborn through teenage years.

All parenting programs offered through Parent Link Centre are free and available upon request. Trained facilitators instruct each course. All courses are held at the Provincial Building; 576 Main Street Cardston, Alberta. The programs include:

  • Becoming a Love and Logic Parent
  • Coping with Toddler Behavior
  • Infant Massage
  • Make the Connection
  • Parenting the Strong Willed Child
  • Baby and Me - Wednesdays 10:00am - 11:30am
  • Little Yogis

Contact: Sonja Richards for Program Times (403) 653-7077

Early Childhood Development

Parent Link Centre Early Childhood Programs provide a safe haven for children birth to five years of age to develop socially and for their parents and caregivers to enhance their parenting skills.

Play is one of the most important aspects of early childhood development. For the parents, this knowledge is key to providing positive experiences.


  • offers an opportunity to bond with the parent, to learn family rules and expectations and how to act in society;
  • enhances a child’s cognitive skills and social and motor skills;
  • improves language skills and socialization;
  • helps children communicate emotions, and practice creative problem-solving.

The PLC staffs recognize that parenting can be a very isolating experience and the PLC programs allow the parents to meet and visit with other caregivers while interacting with their children. Parents learn about age-appropriate activities that can be done with their children and the importance of play in early brain development.  

PLC Early Childhood programs are held at the Cardston Provincial Building and provide a safe place for children to develop social connections.

A by-product to the program is the opportunity for parents to meet other parents of preschool children and build friendships.

Child Programs (Ages 0-6):

Make & Mingle Monday: 10:00 – 12:00 pm
Wednesday: 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Stay & Play Tuesday: 9:30 – 11:30 am & 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Thursday: 9:30 – 11:30 am
Little Yogi’s Tuesday: 9:30 – 11:30 am & 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Thursday: 9:30 – 11:30 am
Baby & Me Wednesday: 10:00 – 11:30 am
Sta’Wastiima’an “Raising our Children” Thursday: 1:00 – 3:00 pm

Youth Prgrams (Ages 7-12):

Chill & Chat Monday: 3:30 - 4:30pm
Stitch and Connect Tuesday: 3:30 - 4:30pm
Lego League Friday: 1:30 - 4:00pm
Crafty Critters Friday: 1:30 - 4:00pm

Contact: Sonja Richards for Program Times (403) 653-7077

After School Program

The Youth After School Programs at the Parent Link Centre helps socially isolated youth ages 6-12 engage positively with other youth that are experiencing the same self-doubts and often low self-esteem.

A variety of activities are offered so that the youth can select the one that helps them succeed and makes them feel most comfortable.

All youth are welcome but the majority of the youth that come to this Friday program are dealing with personal struggles and will not participate in main stream activities. They are not comfortable in large groups and often do not interact well with other youth. Under the watchful-eye of trained facilitators the youth participate in activities and gradually begin to feel integrated and at ease. The PLC is a safe-haven for youth that have been bullied, ostracized, ignored, or forgotten at school or in other social settings.

Many of the youth that attend the after-school programs are unable to participate in community and school activities whether because of cost or inability to make the team.

Hill Spring Learning Thru Play Group

Place: Hill Spring Community Centre
2nd & 4th Wednesday s of the Month
9:30 – 11:30 AM

Young Children learn best through play; by acting out the world around them. They are able to experiment in safe, planned environment with open-ended activities, on their own or with their peers, learning new skills and increasing their knowledge and development in all areas, helping to create strong, ambitious, and independent individuals.

We set up planned play areas, each with different topics, based on the children’s interests, to allow open-ended play experiences for them to increase in their social, physical, intellectual, creative, and emotional development. The program is an opportunity for children to do and learn things they may not learn at home; to make true, simple choices to foster independence and self-esteem; to interact and socialize with other young children and learn to play cooperatively, and to do so in a safe environment.

We also encourage parents to take part in play with their child(ren). The program generally runs twice per month.

Contact Info:
Bobbi Barfuss, Facilitator (403) 894-2714
Tracey Beck, Facilitator, (403) 360-6385

Epic Youth Services

Epic Youth Services is a social and recreational Centre intended primarily for use by youth in Junior and Senior High school. Epic supports opportunities for youth to develop their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive abilities and to experience achievement, leadership, enjoyment, friendship, and recognition.  The name EPIC is an acronym for a defining statement of our overarching theme: Empowering People, Inspiring Change.  We believe that youth that are able to make positive personal connections are more likely to enjoy adolescence, adapt to life’s many challenges and successfully transition to adulthood.  Simultaneously, they are far less likely to succumb to typical pitfalls associated with teens.  We believe that giving them tools and creating those connections, while allowing their individuality to remain, are keys to achieving these goals.

Contact Info:

Phone: 403 360 7181
Address: 405 Main Street Cardston, Alberta, T0K 0K0

Dare To Care

The Dare to Care Program occurs annually at Cardston Junior High School in October.

The Dare to Care program is designed to shift the imbalance of power away from the few students who bully and into the hands of the caring majority.  The day is carefully designed to facilitate real change in the students, and in many cases the adults, who are part of this day.  Through a combination of games, small group activities, and large group activities, participants will discover that they really do have the power to make a difference in their school and community.

Community Keep Fit

Location: Remington Carriage Museum
Time: Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 1:30 – 2:30 pm
Cost: $15.00 per year

Join the Keep Fit Group at the Remington Carriage Museum! Keep Fit is designed for anyone that is looking for a low impact exercise program. Each class we aim to increase balance, enhance strength, increase flexibility, boost energy and socialize. We look forward to meeting you!

Sessions are taught by a AFLCA Certified Instructor.

Cardston High School Peer Mentoring Group

Through group collaboration, students learn about relationships, gain understanding and increase empathy in the following areas: Leadership skills, coping strategies, mental health and addictions, and other seminal issues determined by the group. Following the presentation of materials, group members are given the opportunity to process what they have learned. Through the lens of their values, they build character, increase decision-making and communication skills, and gain a sense of belonging. Further, the program allows students to try newly acquired interpersonal and intrapersonal skills in an effort to increase empathy and acceptance of other socioeconomic, cultural, and religious groups. Students are then able to practice these skills and implement their newly acquired knowledge in the broader community, in an effort to create stronger healthier citizens.

Some of the outcomes of this group are to create higher rates of graduation, increase friendship and compassion, and reduce indifference and intolerance. Students relate feeling more connected to the school environment, to each other, and to the group leaders.

Books For Babies

The Books for Babies program  is a community-based volunteer project that promotes reading as a family activity and encourage parents of infants between birth and 12 months to share books with their babies.

A bag with two carefully selected age-appropriate books and resource materials introduces parents of newborns to the importance of early reading to their children.

Early shared book reading helps children become stronger and better able to cope with new situations in constructive ways. It helps them develop independence and become more resistant to crisis.

It is important in a child’s brain and behavioural development. Books for Babies program supports families in developing early literacy and language experiences and promotes healthy family relationships.

For infomation please contact:

Shannon Palmer
Books for Babies Coordinator