Indigenous EarlyON Child and Family Centres
Indigenous service providers are encouraged to express their interest in becoming the operator for one or both new Indigenous EarlyON Child and Family Centres. One centre will be located in the Mount Dennis neighbourhood and the other will be located in East Scarborough. Ongoing operating funding of approximately $1 million per year will be provided.
Sessions to answer questions and support the completion of Expression of Interest packages for Journey Together programs will be held at the Centre for Social Innovation, located at 192 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, on March 20, 2018. See the Support Sessions section below for more detail.
The City also invites interested organizations to submit an Expression of Interest to operate Indigenous Cultural Programs for Children and Families.
- All not-for-profit Indigenous agencies are welcome to express interest in delivering new Indigenous Child and Family Centres.
- Meet the requirements to enter into a service agreement with the City of Toronto including strong governance practices and strong financial health of the organization.
- For-profit groups and non-Indigenous organizations are not eligible.
Before completing the Expression of Interest, please review the following documents:
- OEYCFC Planning Guidelines-Ontario
- Journey Together Needs Assessment
- How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years
- Raising the Village Part Two: Indigenous Outcomes Report
Mandatory Core Services
The Ministry has identified a suite of mandatory core services that must be available to children and families in the EarlyON centre, these core services are:
1. Engaging Parents and Caregivers
- Inviting conversations and information sharing about child development, parenting, nutrition, play and inquiry-based learning, and other topics that support their role;
- Offering responsive pre- and postnatal support programs to enhance parent and caregiver well-being, enrich adult-child interactions and to support them in their role(s);
- Providing targeted outreach opportunities designed for parents and caregivers who could benefit from Child and Family Centre programs and services but are not currently accessing services
Wherever possible, engagement with parents and caregivers should occur with children present. Differentiated adult learning opportunities may be considered and planned on an as needed basis.
2. Supporting Early Learning and Development
- Drop-in programs and other programs and services that build responsive adult-child relationships and encourage children’s exploration, play and inquiry, supported by How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years.
Early learning and development programs are most effective when the content of learning is foregrounded in relationships and focused on supporting the development of strategies, dispositions, and skills for lifelong learning through play and inquiry.
3. Making Connections for Families
- Responding to a parent/caregiver concern about their child’s development through conversations and observations which can be supported by validated tools and resources (e.g., developmental surveillance, Nipissing District Developmental Screen (NDDS)). In some cases, this may result in supporting parents/caregivers to seek additional support from primary care or other regulated health professionals;
- Sharing information and facilitating connections with specialized community services (such as children’s mental health services), coordinated service planning, public health, education, child care, and child welfare, as appropriate.
- Ensuring Child and Family Centre staff have relationships with community partners and an in-depth knowledge of their community resources to allow for simple transitions (warm hand-offs) for families who may benefit from access to specialized or other services.
- Providing Information about programs and services available for the whole family beyond the early years.
The core services above need to be provided in Centres, which are physical program sites where children, parents and caregivers can participate in programs and services in-person. In addition, both new Indigenous EarlyON centres are expected to provide mobile services throughout their geographical area.
Mobile services are defined as programs and services that can be offered outside of centres to further integrate Indigenous EarlyON Centres with broader community services and to enhance service access for Indigenous children and families living in neighbourhoods across the city.
Mobile services may have regular or irregular days, times and locations of operation. Service providers must establish an appropriate mechanism to communicate to parents and caregivers about these services and their locations, dates and times of operation.
The Mount Denis centre is expected to provide mobile services for Indigenous children and families throughout Etobicoke, and the Scarborough centre is expected to provide mobile services to Indigenous children and families throughout Scarborough.
Indigenous Child and Family Centre Concept
The Indigenous Child and Family Centre will be operated by an Indigenous not-for-profit organization, delivering programming in line with the core services detailed above, while centering Indigenous worldviews, cultures and languages. The model proposes a centre of approximately 6000 square feet, plus a naturalized outdoor play space, if possible. The vision for this centre also includes community programming pods where specialized child and family programs such as the proposed Culturally Secure Parenting Support Program for Fathers could work out of. The centre design designates office and meeting space for Traditional Knowledge Keepers where more robust ventilation systems will be placed to allow for cultural practices like smudging in a small space. Through community consultation we have also included inclusive spaces for children with special needs, spaces where connections to arts and culture can be facilitated and the natural environment brought into programming through a naturalized play space.
See below for the draft site plan and the proposed Staffing Model. There is flexibility in how the model ends up being implemented.
Draft Site Plan – Indigenous EarlyON Child and Family Centre
Consultation with Indigenous children, families, service providers and community leaders will inform the overall design of the Indigenous Child and Family Centre. Further, not all locations may be able to include all the elements referenced below. The order of magnitude included here is one possible outline of how the centre could take shape, but is not a firm plan for the space.
Indigenous EarlyON Child and Family Centre draft site plan
|Entry||Barrier free entry lobby with stroller, coat, diaper bag and shoe storage|
|Reception and Community Lounge||Reception and community lounge space for families to connect with centre staff and other families|
|Family Washrooms||Barrier free washrooms that meet OBC requirements including child height toilets, child and adult change tables.|
|Community Meeting Rooms||One large meeting room and two smaller meeting rooms. One room will be outfitted with sinks for multi-purpose use including health counselling and capacity building (vaccinations, well-baby visits, speech and language assessments, etc.). More robust ventilation systems will be installed in these pods to facilitate cultural practices like smudging to occur in smaller spaces within the centre|
|Drop-in Community Space||Open space with toys and equipment for drop-in programming that encourages child development|
|Laundry/Shower Room||Industrial washer and dryer and toy washing sink with connecting shower room for families who may be under-housed or experiencing homelessness|
|Kitchen||Kitchen could be oriented to be shared with both programs, and include a size-appropriate demo area for children to engage in cooking/food prep programming|
|Staff Spaces||One staff lounge with kitchenette and staff washroom, with adjacent area for coats and bags (secure door). Two offices for administrative staff including the centre supervisor|
|Workshop Room||Space for registered programming with table, toy & chair storage and servery with sink|
|Therapeutic Art Area||Permanently set up with tables, chairs, drying racks, art sink and storage space|
|Therapeutic Music/Sensory Area||Permanently set up with a piano, sensory lighting, Snoezelen Room elements, storage and build-in platform stage with ramp|
|Gross Motor Area||Space for gross motor equipment (could be part of the drop-in space)|
|Community Programming Pods||Office and meeting space for small-scale incubated community programs (such as an Indigenous language team or an Inuit specific program team) or for a Traditional Knowledge Keeper to meet with families individually. More robust ventilation systems will be installed in these pods to facilitate cultural practices like smudging to occur in smaller spaces within the centre|
|Outdoor Play Area||Include benches, storage shed, local and/or medicinal plants, trees, and water trough in a naturalized space|
Proposed Staffing Model for Indigenous EarlyON Child and Family Centre
The staffing model for Indigenous Child and Family Centres has been developed through extensive consultation with Indigenous service providers and early years specialists. This model provides the robust supports that aim to increase well-being outcomes for Indigenous children and families. These supports include Family Support & Outreach Workers and cultural supports through staff positions by including a Traditional Knowledge Keeper and apprentice in the complement.
This model meets the objective of the Ministry of Education’s Journey Together initiative of ‘greater participation in employment and training’ by creating needed new jobs and opening new career paths for Indigenous community members in Toronto.
The staffing model below is an example – organizations are welcome to develop their own model. However, at least one Registered Early Childhood Educator is required as part of the staff complement.
Indigenous Child and Family Centre Staffing Model
|Family Support & Outreach Worker||
|Traditional Knowledge Keeper||
|Apprentice to Traditional Knowledge Keeper||
|CFC Program Staff||
|Support Staff for Children with Disabilities||
- Ensure your organization is eligible for this funding.
- Complete the following:
- Gather required documents and include with the submission.
- Submit the completed Expression of Interest package by April 16, 2018 with the subject line “Journey Together” by email: TOEYCFC@toronto.ca
Submission and Review Process
Children’s Services will review all Expressions of Interest for governance documentation to ensure eligibility is met. A review team of City of Toronto staff and Indigenous leaders will evaluate and score each submission. All submissions will receive a response.
|Mount Dennis Indigenous EarlyON Centre||$2,454,560 (capital retrofit and start-up)||$1,078,458 (annual operating)|
|Scarborough Indigenous EarlyON Centre||$2,454,560 (capital retrofit and start-up)||$1,046,271 (annual operating)|
- Funding must be used to implement an EarlyON Child and Family Centre that delivers all core services while providing culturally relevant programming as proposed through the approved model.
- Organizations can allocate up to 10% of the overall operating budget to support administration of the program.
- Program funds will be disbursed to the successful applicant by Children’s Services on a quarterly schedule.
- Program funding must be fully used each calendar year. Any unspent funding will be recovered following review of audited financial statements in the following year.
- The Ministry of Education has indicated that the Government of Ontario is committed to ongoing funding for these programs.
- Reporting on service levels (number of children and parents/caregivers served, hours of programming per week, etc.) will be required semi-annually.
- Annual operating funding provides for staff time to attend the Toronto Child & Family Network’s Aboriginal Advisory and Planning Committee or other planning bodies for Indigenous early years services, as they are established.
- Evaluation for these new programs will be developed collaboratively with Indigenous community members and Indigenous service providers using the Raising the Village Part Two: Indigenous Outcomes Report as a framework.
Capital and Operating Funding
- The funding allocated for 2018 will be used to renovate an existing building into a new Indigenous Child and Family Centre. Funding for start-up costs (furniture, toys, equipment, etc.) is also included in the 2018 capital allocation. Children’s Services will manage the logistics of the renovation process, with input from the successful agency.
- The funding allocated for 2019 will be used to operate the new centre (staff salaries and benefits, program materials, elder honourariums, transportation support, etc.). For a list of eligible and ineligible expenses, please see the Program Budget Work Book.
- Funding can be provided to partnering organizations. The Lead Agency in the delivery of the EarlyON Child and Family Centre may enter partner agreements with other indigenous organizations to deliver services.
When: March 20, 2018
Where: Centre for Social Innovation, 192 Spadina Avenue
|Journey Together Program||Time|
|Indigenous Central Language Child and Family Program||10 a.m. – 11 a.m.|
|Culturally Secure Parenting Supports for Fathers||11 a.m. – 12 p.m.|
|Indigenous Land-Based Child and Family Programs||12 p.m. – 1 p.m.|
|Indigenous EarlyON Child and Family Centres (Mount Dennis and Scarborough)||2 p.m. – 4 p.m.|
Children’s Services can also provide one-on-one support or consultation to your group, if needed. If you would like to meet with Children’s Services for support in completing any area of the expression of interest package, please get in touch as soon as possible to arrange a meeting. We can meet with you at your organization, in the community, or at Metro Hall (55 John Street).
How to get in touch with us:
If you have questions or need more information, please call or email:
Toronto Children’s Services
EarlyON Child and Family Centres are located across Ontario and provide high quality early years programs and services to children from birth to 6 years of age and their families. In the City of Toronto, the Ministry of Education has approved capital and operating funding for the development of two new Indigenous EarlyON Child and Family Centres that will provide culturally responsive programs and services in Etobicoke (Mount Dennis neighbourhood), and Scarborough area. The Ministry of Education also approved an Indigenous Early Years Centre (a co-located Indigenous child care program and an Indigenous EarlyON child and family centre program) in East York within First Nations School of Toronto. Because licensed child care is co-located with the EarlyON centre at First Nations School of Toronto, the Expression of Interest for that program will be administered separately from this process.
Indigenous EarlyON Child and Family Centres will deliver the same core services, described below, as non-Indigenous EarlyON Child and Family Centres in a culturally safe and relevant way that is responsive to the diverse communities of Indigenous children and families in Toronto.
Children’s Services, in partnership with the Indigenous community proposed a model for Indigenous EarlyON Child and Family Centres based on feedback and input from the community. Each of the two locations will operate out of physical sites where children, parents and caregivers can participate in programs and services in-person. The model also includes the capacity to provide mobile programs and services that will provide easy access and outreach to families that may otherwise be unable to travel to a specific location. Mobile services are offered outside of centres and integrate with the broader community of services (e.g., programs for Indigenous children and families where families are living, weekly programs in libraries, schools, other EarlyON locations, etc.). Children’s Services is currently searching for appropriate space for these new Indigenous EarlyON Child and Family Centres, where the building can be renovated to deliver the programming outlined in the model. The aim is to have the sites ready for operation by 2019.
Children’s Services is the Service System Manager for Child Care and Early Years programs in Toronto. Children’s Services will work collaboratively with Indigenous organizations to support the implementation of these new programs.
The purpose of this Expression of Interest is to secure an Indigenous not-for-profit agency to operate the EarlyON Child and Family Centre. Although Children’s Services will take a lead in managing the construction of the centre the Agency selected through this EOI process for each site, will contribute to its design in order to meet the needs of the community.