The city of Edmonton was the first city outside of Ontario to adopt a program called Block Parent. In 1973 Edmonton was given permission to do so by the original program, London, Ontario. This local program was called the Edmonton Block Parent Association (EBPA).
In 2003 the Block Parent Program of Canada, Inc. filed a law suit with the Federal Government stating that Edmonton had no rights to the Block Parent name or logo.
Unfortunately, the EBPA lost the suit. They were unable to hire a lawyer to represent them. It was too costly for a non-profit, charitable organization to afford one. As a result, it was decided that the EBPA would voluntarily shut down in the spring of 2006 and all materials related to the Association were destroyed.
In June 2006 a new program was started. Wilma Deboer suggested the name Edmonton Safe Parent Association (ESPA). Jerry Deboer, President and Karen Larsen, Office Manager created the artwork for the new window sign, Spunky the Skunk holding a boy’s hand. Karen filed the ESPA name and By-Laws with Alberta Registries June 26th, 2006. A year later she registered two (2) branch programs, The Alberta Safe Parent Association and The Canadian Safe Parent Association.
Jerry, Karen and Dawn Banner held several city wide sign exchanges at local community leagues and churches. As well, there was extensive media coverage letting former Block Parents, and the City if Edmonton in general, know of the program change.
The Safe Parent focus is still children. However, we encourage anyone, of any age, to use a Safe Parent Home if there is an emergency. Signs are placed in a window only when someone is available to answer the door and render assistance.
Andy Dalwood created a web site in 2007 and Karen created two (2) display banners for displays, one with a young family and the other geared towards seniors in 2014. Karen also created a Facebook page in 2010. The web site and Facebook have been brought up to date by a web designer Jay Breitkreutz, Office Manager Karen Larsen and Past President Sheryl Rose.
Volunteers work many different events, such as, community and school events, displays, Bingos and Casinos. Safe Parent and Northlands partnered from 2006 – 2013 and had a Safe Parent House set up at the Capital EX and K-Days. As well, a Safe Parent House has been set up since 2012 on Canada Day, at the Legislative grounds, by request of the Provincial Government. Karen Larsen and Andy Dalwood volunteer every year. These Safe Parent Houses provided lost children a safe place to wait until they were reunited with their parent or guardian.
In this day and age, it is more important than ever to have as many Safe Parent homes as possible available to help the most vulnerable people in Edmonton; children and seniors.