The Ujima Project goal is to improve early outcomes for children born to at-risk families across the province by supporting the early development needs of under-served, vulnerable children of young parents though nine Early Childhood Development Hubs across the province.
Fresh Start Support Services is proud to be one of these Hubs. We will offer essential components of early literacy, speech and language referral services, and optimal infant, early childhood and family mental health under one roof.
Our focus will be on serving young mothers who are typically underserviced in the community and connecting the families with information, programs, and services they need to nurture strong, healthy attachment and attuned relationship while fostering early language and literacy skills within the family unit.
SERVICES UNDER THIS PROJECT
FAMILY SYSTEM NAVIGATION
We support parents in identifying needs, goal setting, and ensuring that they have access to the programs and services in the community intended to support them.
EARLY LANGUAGE & LITERACY
These programs are created by Early Literacy Specialists to meet the needs of the parents involved with the agency.
The goal is interactive engagement with parents and children using songs, rhymes, stories, and activities; the fostering of communication and self-expression in children; connections to stories and books for children while weaving in language and literacy-related activities; tangible strategies and routines for parents to support growth and development with language and literacy; and a sense of community, belonging and support in navigating literacy.
BABY LOVE PROGRAM
Baby Love is a parenting program designed to support parents in learning about healthy attachment and the importance of babies and toddlers feeling secure.
This program is offered on an on-going basis. Click the link below to find out when our next session starts, and for details about how to register.
We support parents in completing Ages and Stages Questionnaire (developmental tracking) for their children ages 2 months to 6 years old.
The screenings support parents in identifying where their child falls in the typical developmental milestone timelines.
This tool empowers parents to have an active role in their child's on-going development and provides language and identification of where more support is needed.
Fresh Start Support Services, as a member of The Ontario Association of Young Parent Agencies (OAYPA), is pleased to announce that they are one of nine agencies across Ontario that has been awarded a shared grant of $5.5 million over three years from an anonymous funder to establish Early Childhood Development Hubs throughout Ontario.
This project will improve early outcomes for babies born to at-risk families across the province by supporting the early development needs of under-served, vulnerable children of young mothers by creating Early Childhood Development Hubs across the province. The project uses a hub-and-spoke model that will centralize essential evidence-based services in key “hubs” with outreach capabilities via “spokes” to key population densities throughout Ontario.
These hubs will offer essential components of early literacy, speech and language services, service navigation, and optimal infant, early childhood and family mental health under one roof. Twenty new staff positions across Ontario will be created to support this project, including two new positions at Fresh Start. We anticipate that 1000 children and 900 young mothers across the Province will benefit each year from this project.
Other agencies, in addition to Fresh Start, that have received funding and operating Early Childhood Development hubs are: Rose of Durham, Durham Region, Regina's Place, Hamilton East/Lower Mountain, Rosalie Hall, East Toronto, Youville Centre, Ottawa, Massey Centre, Central and North Toronto – Project Trustee, Monica Place, Waterloo Region, St. Mary's Home, Champlain, Eastern Ontario, and St. Martin's Manor, Hamilton West.
This project is also supported by the Young Families Program at SickKids Hospital. This team will offer resources and support to all of our hubs including a Pediatrician, Nurse Practitioner, and Social Worker. Families with complex cases will be connected with additional SickKids services including telepsychiatry. Additionally, the Infant and Early Mental Health Promotion (IEMHP) will lead the training and evaluation of this project over the next three years.