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Burlington Office 1445 Norjohn Court Burlington, ON L7L 0E6
Milton Office 325 Main Street East Milton, ON L9T 1P5
Toll Free: 866.607.KIDS (5437) Phone: 905.333.4441 Fax: 905.333.1844 TTY: 711 (TTY to Voice)
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Acton Early Years Committee: The Heart of the Matter

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

Action Early Years Committee: The Heart of the Matter
by Alison Hilborn, Our Kids Network Acton Community Hub Coordinator

Around the Acton Early Years Committee table, making a positive difference in children’s lives is what we all want. We want young children in Acton to grow and flourish, and ultimately become successful, happy adults. We work towards this vision through the many strong partnerships around the table. Over the past four years we’ve met once a month. We’ve brainstormed, discussed, critically analyzed, grown closer, and developed supportive, mindful relationships – relationships with “heart”.

It’s important to recognize that the partners on this committee come from organizations that have their own mandates, and yet these organizations all see the tremendous value in working together to bring change for the good to the community, and to young children and their families. We’re grateful for these Halton organizations* that support their staff to participate at the Acton Early Years Committee table. The benefits from their knowledge, expertise and perspectives on child development and this community’s unique needs are invaluable. We’ve progressed from speculating on possible solutions to grounding our discussions and actions in experiential learning, best practice efforts, and strategies.

It’s easy to see how our evidence-based initiatives that support young Acton children reflect the heart and creativity of the Acton Early Years Committee:

  • Fine and gross motor skill activity kits that respond directly to the Early Development Initiative (EDI) vulnerabilities.
  • Annual Kindergarten Fun Fairs to engage with new parents and to provide necessary service support information.
  • Connect, Play & Learn Every Day! Messaging that speaks directly to parents.

We know it will take more time, and lots of hard work, to improve on current EDI results, but the Acton Early Years Committee is dedicated!  We will use our partnerships, what we’ve learned, and our “heart” to continue to work toward addressing the underlying factors that impact young children’s developmental readiness for school – and to ensure that, in Acton, all children thrive!

*Acton Early Years Committee: Halton Catholic District School Board, St. Joseph’s Catholic Elementary School, Halton District School Board, McKenzie-Smith Bennet School, Robert Little Public School, Halton Region, Children’s Services and Healthy Families, The Halton Resource Centre, Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK), The Town of Halton Hills, Community Living North Halton, YMCA of the GTA, Links2Care – EarlyON, Halton Hills Libraries, Halton Children’s Aid Society

2018 Holiday Program

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

The Children’s Aid Foundation of Halton (CAFH) is the fundraising arm of the Halton Children’s Aid Society (Halton CAS). Together, with you, our community ‘Partners in Caring,’ we assist children, youth and families who are experiencing serious challenges. Our goal is to brighten the holiday season by providing necessities and gifts to those who have been referred to our Holiday Program.

Together, we can do it. Keep reading for a few ways you can assist!

Gift Cards for Teens–Gift cards allow teens to purchase items they really want or need; there is no guesswork. We suggest the following gift card ideas–local malls and department stores, clothing stores such as American Eagle, Boathouse, Bluenotes, Garage and/or electronics and movies passes (always a hit).

Toy Drives, Games, Puzzles and Crafts for All Ages–We also need festive stockings, gift wrap, gift bags, tissue paper and gift tags.

Comfort Kits (all ages)–Infants, children, teens and young adults may be separated from their families, for a short or extended period of time, while healing occurs. Comfort Kits provide immediate needs and comforting items to help during difficult times of transition. Pillows, soft blankets, pajamas, socks and personal care products (such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and hairbrushes) are a few things we suggest.

Family Comfort Hampers–Family Comfort Hampers are delivered to families who are unable to do their own shopping. We provide you with a ‘wish list’ of specific items for food and big box store gift cards. We suggest $50 per person for food and approximately $50 to $75 for gifts for each family member.

New Clothing/Pajamas/Personal Hygiene Products (all ages and sizes)–Socks, underwear, pajamas, mittens and hats, toiletries and personal care/hygiene products (such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, hairbrushes, deodorant and lotions). 

Life Start Kits–Youth and young adults transitioning out of foster/group homes into independent living require the necessary items for setting up a home—bed linen, pillows, blankets, towels, cutlery, cooking utensils, dishcloths and pots/pans.

***Donation Drop-Off Information***

  • Please ensure all donations are NEW and UNWRAPPED
  • Please deliver donations to our office by December 14, 2018
  • Gift cards, please clearly indicate the value on each card
  • Office location–1445 Norjohn Court, Unit 1, Burlington, which is south of Mainway between Burloak Drive and Appleby Line
  • Office Hours–Monday to Thursday, 9:00 am to 7:00 pm and Friday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

For more information, please contact Lisa Janssen, Partnership and Program Development, ljanssen@haltoncas.ca or 905.635.0724.

Become a Year-round ‘Partner in Caring’

To sustain programs and provide support year-found, we rely on financial donations from the community. Please consider monthly or annual gifts. Monthly donors are true Community Champions making an immediate, lasting and meaningful impact on the lives of children and youth in need.

Thank you for wanting to provide comfort and considering the children, youth and families in need this holiday season!

Learning through Play

Thursday, October 25th, 2018

Time to Turn Back the Clock and Change the Conversation about Learning through Play

With the end of October nearby, we will soon be reminded to turn back our clocks in order to gain a few extra hours of daylight.  It’s also an opportunity for us to literally turn back time and reflect on our experiences as children and what this time of year meant to us.

As a child, for me fall was a magical time of playing outdoors until it was too dark or too cold to stay outside. I remember collecting acorns and brightly coloured leaves on my way to school and trading them with my friends at recess, jumping into piles of raked leaves in my backyard, and running through the fields at a local farm to find the perfect pumpkin for carving.

Play was as integral then, as it is now, to a child’s physical, social and emotional health and learning.  Unfortunately, as Dr. Jean Clinton recently pointed out, the importance of play and learning is not well understood among parents who are more inclined to value traditional academic and structured activities over play.  In order to shift this thinking, we need to change the conversation to address the importance of play with families, caregivers, colleagues and others who work with children during the early years.

Thankfully, as professionals working with families, many of us have daily opportunities to highlight the importance of play within our work and how it can be beneficial to both children, parents and caregivers.  Through the Early Years Initiative, OKN and its partners are doing this by promoting Connect, Play & Learn, Every Day!, a campaign developed to raise awareness about the importance of learning through play during the early years. Parents and practitioners alike can access information, resources and play ideas online.

The more we discuss and document the importance of play with families during visits and in programs, the more likely parents will value the benefits play has at home, in school, and in the community.

Ontario Dress Purple Day – October 24, 2018

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

Every October Children’s Aid Societies across the province raise awareness about the rights of children and youth to safety and well-being, and the responsibility of adults and community services to help children, youth, and families who need support. On Ontario Dress Purple Day we join together with our key partners, Boards of Education, schools, and child care centres and homes, to share this positive message that help is available and to celebrate the community that cares for kids and families.

This year Ontario Dress Purple Day will take place on Wednesday, October 24, 2018.

To support Ontario Dress Purple Day and its focus on getting and giving help, we are providing online classroom resources (elementary schools and middle/high schools) to help teachers and education professionals make the day a meaningful and engaging learning opportunity for students from JK to Grade 12. The classroom resources are intended to support teachers and education professionals to engage with their students in conversations about safety and well-being in all aspects of their lives, helping adults in the community, and how to ask for help.

The classroom resources are evidence-based primary prevention materials, empowering students to think and act in positive ways, appropriate for their age and stage of learning and development. The goal of the materials is to help all children and youth, regardless of the situation they are in, to acquire skills and attributes that lessen their vulnerability to harm. You can learn more about the research informing the Ontario Dress Purple classroom resources by reading these articles on Getting Help, Self-Esteem, and Physical Touch. Learn more about how neglect of basic needs can impact children and youth here. Learn about how Children’s Aid Societies support children and families where neglect is a concern here.

Volunteer Drivers Needed

Friday, September 7th, 2018

Are You Driven to Volunteer?

The Halton Children’s Aid Society is seeking applications for mature and responsible volunteer drivers to transport children, youth and families to appointments and schools throughout the Halton Region. 

Volunteer drivers are mostly required during the day, but also evenings and weekends. Some drivers do specific weekly drives (one or two), others drive on a daily basis and some just once a month.

Volunteer drivers play a valuable role in the lives of our children, youth and families. They become the familiar and friendly faces our clients can depend on.

Do you have a few hours a week to spare, enjoy driving and are good with children and youth? This may be the volunteer role for you!

Reimbursement of relevant and appropriate expenses will be provided.

Qualifications

  • Have a reliable vehicle
  • Take pride in your good driving record
  • A current police check and driver’s abstract are required
  • Patience, sense of humour and caring personality
  • Have a few hours per week to spare
  • Punctual, dependable and calm under pressure

Why Be a Volunteer Driver?

Gain the satisfaction of knowing you have made a positive difference in the lives of our children, youth and families

More Information

For more information or to apply to be a volunteer driver with our Society, please contact our Supervisor of Volunteer Services, Clara Costa, at ccosta@haltoncas.ca or 905.635.0713

 

 

 

 

 

 

New system navigators to assist and support African Canadian families engaged with Children’s Aid Societies across the province will soon be in place

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018

For the first time in history, the Ontario child welfare sector will have Community Engagement Workers, dedicated to providing support to African Canadian families as they attempt to navigate the child welfare system. It is anticipated that both positions will be in place by September 2018.

This means that members of the African Canadian community will be able to call on Community Engagement Workers who will have extensive knowledge of the child welfare system, when they are experiencing barriers, systemic or anti-black racism or are trying to navigate the child welfare system. A need for this service was clearly articulated in Phase I of the One Vision One Voice project.

Two positions will be hired on a full time 8-month contract. The roles will be based in Toronto at the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS), but the Community Engagement Workers will support African Canadian families across the province, upon request.

The hiring of these positions is just one initiative included in a contract between the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and the community-led One Vision One Voice (OVOV) project, which is run through OACAS and is working to address the overrepresentation of African Canadians in the child welfare system.

There are currently no existing spaces to receive, document and address the concerns with our system that families may have. Part of the responsibility built in to these two positions, will be the tracking and documenting of engagement with the African Canadian community.

These newly created roles follow on from another historic initiative, Canada’s first ever Symposium for Black youth in care, Power Up! which was held in Toronto on July 10-11, 2018 and brought together 130 Black youth in care from across the province for the first time ever.   

In recognition of the necessity to provide culturally and racially appropriate services, as outlined in the OVOV Race Equity Practices, the Community Engagement Worker positions will work in partnership with existing community agencies providing services to the African Canadian Community, through the utilization of a new Black Service Directory for child welfare. 

This directory, which will be compiled and put together by the OVOV team in partnership with the African Canadian community and will include African Canadian service providers from across the province, will be an online resource that the Community Engagement Workers, CASs across the province and the African Canadian community, can use to access and find racially and culturally appropriate services. The directory will be available in the fall.

For a full description of the OVOV Child Welfare Community Engagement Role, please see here.

 “The creation of these two roles means that for the first time the African Canadian community has somewhere to turn when they experience differential treatment or anti-Black racism in the system. If they’ve been referred to CAS on a ‘trite’ report, which happens all too often, they now have someone who understands systemic and anti-Black racism available to help them navigate the system.” ~ Julian Hasford, Chair, African Canadian Provincial Advisory Council, OACAS

 “This is a game changer for the African Canadian community.  The existence of someone who the community can contact to attend meetings with them, give advice and provide support, will change the experience of the system for many families. We are excited to get these positions filled and continue to work in partnership with all organizations providing service to the African Canadian community, so that we can change the child welfare system to better serve African Canadians.” ~ Kike Ojo, Project Lead, OACAS, One Vision One Voice Project

 For more information visit:  www.oacas.org/onevisiononevoice

Back-to-School Drive 2018

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

Back-to-School Drive 2018

The Children’s Aid Foundation of Halton’s Back-to-School drive is on!

Remember the feeling of starting the new school year with fun, new supplies?

When making purchases for your family, consider a few extra items for the children, youth and families supported by our Society.

Items most needed:

  • Funds to support special needs and educational programs
  • Supplies for teens: binders, backpacks, locks, pens (new items please)
  • Personal care products for teens
  • Gift cards for lunches, shoes, clothing

For more information, contact Lisa Janssen at 905.635.0724 or ljanssen@haltoncas.ca. You can also visit the CAFH website by CLICKING here. #BacktoSchool

 

Genworth Canada provides a lift to Habitat for Humanity, local charities

Monday, July 30th, 2018

After a special event co-ordinated with Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga, several local children’s charities have become the recipients of brand new playhouses.

This past month, Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga and Genworth Canada partnered together to host the First Genworth Playhouse Build. This competition saw seven teams build seven themed playhouses. The winning playhouses were then selected by a panel of expert judges. The playhouse build concluded with Genworth Canada presenting a cheque for $20,000 to Habitat for Humanity. In addition to their national sponsorship of Habitat for Humanity they have donated $46,000 in the past two years and committed to another $90,000 over the next two.

But rather than being satisfied with simply raising money for Habitat through the event, Genworth decided to put their playhouses to good use. After the event, the completed playhouses were donated to local children’s charities. Earlier this July, the first of the playhouses was delivered to its new home, the Halton Children’s Aid Society. The remaining six playhouses will be shipped throughout the month to the Kerr Street Mission, the Reach Out Centre for Kids, Halton Women’s Place, and other local charities.

“Habitat and Genworth Canada have a long history of partnering, and we couldn’t be happier to be working alongside them again to make a positive impact in our community,” said Habitat CEO John Gerrard. “Genworth was one of the first organizations to become a home sponsor for our Crew-Goetz Landing build project in Burlington, and they continue to give back with this playhouse build.”

The delivery of the playhouses has been met with immediate gratitude.

“We are delighted to add the playhouse to our playground for children and families to enjoy during their visits at our office,” said Halton Children’s Aid Society’s Lisa Janssen. “The playhouse was being used within minutes of setup, its colourful exterior is inviting and adds a wonderful visual and functional element to our outdoor space — it’s a huge hit!”

At Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga, we believe in paying it forward in order to make life better for others around us. By lifting up those that need support, we are collectively elevating our community. Habitat believes that we would all like to live in a place where everyone looks out for each other, and by donating playhouses to children’s charities Genworth Canada is making our community a better place to live.

Halton Children’s Aid Society appoints Janice Robinson as new Executive Director

Monday, May 28th, 2018

SENT FROM PAUL BARTU, BOARD CHAIR, ON  BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE HALTON CHILDREN’S AID SOCIETY

May 28, 2018

The Board of Directors of the Halton Children’s Aid Society (HCAS) is happy to announce the appointment of Janice Robinson to the position of Executive Director effective August 27, 2018. Ms. Robinson succeeds Nancy MacGillivray who will retire from the Society at the end of August, after 12 years in the role of Executive Director.

Ms. Robinson’s career in child welfare spans 30 years, the last ten of which have been as Executive Director of two Children’s Aid Societies. Most recently, she has served as the Executive Director of the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (CCAS) and, prior to this, was the Executive Director at the Children’s Aid Society of Haldimand-Norfolk (CASHN). Ms. Robinson began her career in front-line child protection and supervisory positions before taking on the role of Director of Services at CASHN in 2003. A respected child welfare leader, Ms. Robinson’s vast experience has driven her passion for the rights of children to safety, security, opportunity, cultural identity and enduring lifelong relationships.

A graduate with distinction from the Master of Social Work program at the University of Toronto, Ms. Robinson’s graduate education focused on the need for social work intervention to address systemic barriers perpetuating the marginalization and alienation of vulnerable communities.

Highly engaged provincially, Ms. Robinson represents the child welfare sector at the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Child Welfare Partnership Table. She also serves as an Executive Director member of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) One Vision, One Voice Strategy and the Provincial Labour Strategy Steering Committee. Ms. Robinson has worked to support and advance the Ontario child welfare sector in her roles as the Vice Chair-Executive Committee of the OACAS Executive Leadership Section and Chair of the OACAS Shared Services Program.

“After a thorough and thoughtful search, the Board is very pleased to welcome Janice Robinson to the Executive Director role. Janice brings a deep understanding of our organization’s work and has demonstrated strong strategic leadership in the Ontario child welfare sector. She is a collaborative and innovative leader who can build on the many successes of the Halton Children’s Aid Society” says Paul Bartu, Board Chair of the HCAS Board of Directors.

Provincial Election – June 7, 2018

Sunday, May 27th, 2018

Ontario’s provincial election is scheduled for June 7, 2018. Learn more about what we are advocating for to ensure the best services for the children, youth and families in Halton Region.

CLICK here to learn more.