All families have challenges from time to time. Those that have networks, resources and supports to problem-solve see that those challenges do not harm their children. Not all families have access to support so that when problems become intractable, children can be harmed. Undoing harm is extremely difficult, with these children more likely to struggle with mental health issues, addictions and deep vulnerability as they grow into adulthood.
Prevention & Early Help Programs offer the maximum impact for vulnerable families in Guelph and Wellington County not requiring formal child protection services. Working in partnership with other agencies such as Guelph Police Services, City of Guelph, County of Wellington, Immigrant Services, both Boards of Education, Community Mental Health Association, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, Community Health Centre and citizen led Neighbourhood Groups, Family & Children’s Services’ Prevention & Early Help Program builds accessible networks, resources and supports to help families obtain what they need, when they need it to keep their children safe and well.
Initiatives the Prevention & Early Help Program supports:
• Community Garden (food security, community building, therapeutic experience)
• Peer Social Support (coffee groups, women’s groups)
• Collective Kitchens (food security, community building)
• Clothing Exchanges (reducing effects of poverty, community building)
• Local one-to-one support for housing, food and income security, domestic violence, and mental health issues (help with immediate emerging problems; navigating services systems; and, bringing needed services to them)
• Systems coordination (ensuring large systems like child welfare, mental health, education and public health have access to on-the-ground information so that supports and services can be customized to fit individual community needs)