January 22, 2020
Please ensure that this Bulletin is cascaded to all relevant staff as soon as possible, and a hard copy of this document posted in a conspicuous place for ongoing reference.
The following outlines expectations of shelter providers in the single, youth and family sectors working with single women who are or who become pregnant:
- Family shelters should consider single women who are pregnant in their third trimester as a family unit and eligible for admission to a family shelter. Pregnant women in their third trimester should be referred to a family shelter through Central Intake.
- At the point of intake at the site level, single sector shelters including co-ed shelters and respite programs may ask if a client is pregnant, and if so, her due date.
- If family shelter space is not immediately available, pregnant clients should be admitted to other appropriate shelter or respite programs and placed on a wait list managed by Central Intake.
- Shelter providers looking to refer pregnant clients from their programs who have reached their third trimester should contact Central Intake and request a transfer. Women will be placed on a wait list and offered the first available/eligible shelter bed in the family system.
- Shelter providers that learn of a client’s pregnancy should expedite any housing plan wherever possible in order to avoid shelter occupancy at the time of birth.
- Supportive counselling and resources should be offered to any woman at any stage of pregnancy. Please see TSS Sections 9.2 and 9.2.2 for specific references which should be read as relevant to single women who are pregnant.
- Section 10.3.1 (a) states “Family Shelter Providers will take all reasonable measures to keep a family unit or household intact.” For situations where a pregnant woman is in the single sector with or without a partner, and intends to maintain custody of the baby, all efforts will be made to support this decision and provide the best environment for the client.
Toronto Shelter Standards