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The City is working collaboratively with community partners to enhance the supports provided to families through EarlyON programs. The City’s plan for moving forward is described in the EarlyON Action Plan (2018-2020).

The EarlyON Virtual and Remote Service Guidelines (2020) outline the policy, operational and business practice requirements for EarlyON and Indigenous-Led Program Partners who wish to deliver accessible, responsive virtual and remote services.

Launched in Spring 2021, the Every Child Belongs Resource Consultation Service helps support EarlyON providers in delivering inclusive and enabling programs.

Resource Consultation services will help to strengthen EarlyON staff capacity, skills and knowledge through program consultations and sector-wide professional learning. The service will also include support for Check It Out early identification screening events.

Service will be delivered by Resource Consultation staff from Toronto Children’s Services and Centre Francophone du Grand Toronto (French language).

The Toronto EarlyON Child and Family Centres Design Guidelines (2020) guide the development and renovation of EarlyON Centres. Informed by community and sector engagement, this document provides helpful tips to ensure that all EarlyON spaces support child development, engage parents and caregivers as co-learners, and provide opportunities for families to participate in a welcoming and inclusive community. Contact earlyon@toronto.ca to request a copy in English or French.

The EarlyON Staff and Leadership Networks were established in 2019 to provide a structure for professional learning, information sharing, capacity building and networking in the EarlyON system. Each Network meets 3 times per year.

Staff Networks

  • Designed specifically for program staff, to facilitate equitable access to professional learning and knowledge exchange.
  • There will be five Staff Network Meetings held across the City of Toronto in February, June, and November. One of the five meetings will be held in French.
  • Staff will attend the Network Meeting that is coordinated by their EarlyON Consultant.
  • Programs have the option to close twice per year in order to facilitate the attendance of program level staff.

Leadership Network

  • Designed for leaders within EarlyON organizations to network, identify emerging issues, ask questions and promote dialogue on the EarlyON Child and Family System.
  • There is one Leadership Network for all organizations across the City of Toronto and meetings will be held in a central location.
  • Leadership Network meetings will be held after the Staff Network meetings and include updates on the professional learning content delivered to staff.

EarlyON staff teams must include at least one RECE to deliver mandatory core services related to supporting early learning and development at EarlyON Child and Family Centres. Examples of programs that must be delivered by an RECE include, but are not limited to, programs that build responsive adult-child relationships and encourage children’s exploration, play and inquiry.

Temporary exceptions for centres that cannot meet this requirement are available upon request.

The requirement for EarlyON Child and Family Centres to employ at least one RECE at every centre must have been met by January 1, 2023, however, in recognition of the current RECE shortages, the flexibility for CMSMs and DSSABs to grant exemptions will be extended into 2023 as follows:

  • Where an EarlyON Child and Family Centre has tried but is unable to recruit at least one RECE to oversee mandatory core services related to supporting early learning and development, the Service System Managers may grant an exemption from the requirement.

Request an RECE Exemption

Organizations must submit the EarlyON RECE Exemption Request Form with their annual budget submission; or at any time a position requiring an RECE is not filled.

Criteria for exemption

Exemptions will be considered when service providers are actively taking appropriate action to fulfill RECE requirements, which can include (but is not limited to):

  • supporting existing staff to apply to an Early Childhood Education diploma program;
  • actively recruiting for an RECE staff person;
  • re-organizing schedules and/or roles to ensure an RECE is delivering required programs; or
  • coordinating between two or more locations or agencies to ‘share’ an RECE.

Terms of Exemption

  • Service providers must update the City:
    • when the RECE position is being filled and the exemption is no longer required; or
    • if an RECE position becomes vacant.
  • All granted exemptions will be for the operating year identified in the request form.
  • Granted exemptions will last no more than one year.
  • Service providers can re-apply for an exemption for up to 5 years, each year, per staff person.

Grand-Parenting Provision

A grand-parenting provision was put into effect April 2019 that specifies that staff in EarlyON Child and Family Centres with more than 10 years of experience working in one of the four previous family support program types are not required to obtain their RECE credential. Grand-parented staff can be used to meet the RECE requirement.

Staff may only be grand-parented in the centre in which they are employed or were previously employed in and are returning to. This provision does not apply to new hiring for positions, or to persons that have been members of the College of Early Childhood Educators in the past, but have had their membership suspended, cancelled or revoked, or who have resigned or let their membership lapse.  It also does not apply to those who have satisfied the educational requirements to be registered as members of the College but have not become members.

For a copy of the complete RECE policy, please contact earlyon@toronto.ca

To achieve the intended outcomes of EarlyON Child and Family Centres, the Ministry has identified a suite of mandatory core services that must be available to children and families. As service system manager, Toronto Children’s Services is required to manage the local delivery of core services related to:

  1. engaging parents and caregivers,
  2. supporting early learning and development, and
  3. making connections for families.

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;
  • 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 for a variety of reasons (e.g., newcomers to Ontario, teen parents, low-income families, etc.)
  • Collaborate with other support programs to enhance parent and caregiver well- being, enrich adult relationships, and to support parents and caregivers in their role(s).

Engagement may include group discussions, informal one on one engagement, printed and electronic resources or other engagement opportunities as appropriate.

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.

Making Connections for Families

  • Responding to a parent/caregiver concern about their child’s development through conversations and observations. 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 rehabilitation 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.

On January 1st, 2018, the Province of Ontario transferred planning and administration responsibility for four types of programs for children (newborn to six) and their parents/caregivers to municipalities. These programs have been integrated and are being delivered under the common identity of EarlyON Child and Family Centres.