Prevention & Early Intervention Services

Prevention and Early Intervention Services (PEI) at the George Hull Centre offers a range of programs for families with children from birth to six years old. 

The programs of Prevention and Early Intervention Services include:

  • The George Hull EarlyON Child and Family Centre offers programs to parents and their young children, from birth to six years of age, in five locations across central and north Etobicoke.  Programs include group learning activities, parent and child drop-in programs, specialized registered programs, parent workshops, community events, support for families with children who have special needs, resources and supportive referrals.

  • Preschool Speech and Language Services is part of a community partnership with the City of Toronto’s Early Abilities program, delivering community-based speech and language services to young children.

  • Every Child Belongs Resource Consultation Program provides support and consultation to child care providers to help them effectively meet the needs of children with special needs up to age 12.

  • Family Group Conferencing Toronto helps families involved with child welfare plan for the safety and well-being of their children.

  • Etobicoke Brighter Futures Coalition is a collaborative group of community partners developing and delivering services to improve the health and well being of young children, their families, and their communities. 

To talk to someone about any of the Prevention and Early Intervention Services at the George Hull Centre, please call Rosemary Britto at 416-622-8833 ext 265 or to learn more, download the PEI Services Booklet here.

 

Building the Foundations of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

Infant and early childhood mental health, sometimes referred to as social and emotional development, is the developing capacity of the child from birth to five years of age to form close and secure adult and peer relationships, experience, manage and express a full range of emotions, and explore the environment and learn – all in the context of family, community and culture.                      

(Cohen, Oser and Quigley, 2012. Zero to Three Infant Mental Health Task Force)

 

Young children grow and change at an amazingly rapid pace in the first few years of their lives.  They depend heavily on adults to help them experience, express and regulate their emotions.  Through close and secure relationships with parents and other caregivers, infants and young children learn what is expected of them and what they can expect of other people.  A strong and secure attachment to the adults in their lives allows young children the ‘secure base’ necessary to explore their environment, learn and relate to others, and the wellbeing, motivation, and opportunity to do so.

Prevention and Early Intervention Services at The George Hull Centre works with families to support the healthy social and emotional development of their young children.  Our EarlyON Child and Family Centre invites all families to participate in parent-child drop-in programs, parenting groups, fun activities and kindergarten readiness classes, all designed to support early learning and strong parent-child relationships; essential foundations for the promotion of infant and early childhood mental health. 

When a young child’s communication abilities are delayed, it influences all aspects of their early social and emotional development.  Communication begins in the very first days of life, allowing a child to experience positive relationships with the important people in their lives, enabling them to feel secure and confident to explore and learn. Speech-Language Pathologists and other professionals in our Early Abilities Preschool Speech and Language Program work with parents/caregivers and their children to change their interactions in ways that improve children’s communication skills.

Early signs of mental health concerns in young children are often interpreted to be behaviour problems.  Many children who do not meet their social-emotional development milestones do not receive the type of support they need, when they need it.  Without appropriate intervention and support, these issues can remain unresolved and become more complex over time.   The Every Child Belongs Resource Consultation Service enhances the skills of early childhood professionals and families to support the healthy development of children in childcare environments and the successful inclusion of children with additional needs within childcare. 

When family relationships break down and children’s well-being and safety are at risk, Family Group Conferencing is a program that gives the extended family group a voice in the decision-making and planning process to ensure the safety and well-being of children at risk or in need of protection. FGC is a culturally-sensitive, alternative approach to child protection that empowers marginalized families; bringing together family group members to craft a plan of care for their children that addresses concerns identified by child welfare/children’s mental health professionals.

When whole communities come together for young children, they are more able to experience, learn and grow in a safe and healthy environment.  The Etobicoke Brighter Futures Coalition (EBFC) is a collaborative group of community agencies that works together to plan, develop, and deliver services that improve the health and well-being of vulnerable young children within the context of their families and their communities.  EBFC builds the capacity of local service providers to address the needs of vulnerable families and their young children through collaborative programming, resource sharing, professional development, and collective planning.

 

Sophia & Reesa’s Story

Six-month old Sophia and her mom, Reesa, started attending the drop-in baby program at The George Hull EarlyON Child and Family Centre, where Reesa was so happy to meet other new moms to talk to and share parenting struggles.  When Sophia was 18 months old, Reesa had concerns that she hadn’t yet begun to talk, had frequent temper tantrums and showed little interest in playing with other children.  The staff connected Reesa to the Preschool Speech and Language Team for an assessment and to the George Hull Centre Community Clinic to explore her concerns about Sophia’s development and behaviour.  Reesa and Sophia still come to the drop in every week because she knows that the Prevention and Early Intervention Services at the George Hull Centre are going to be there to support her every step of the way.  

Every year, over 3,000 children and families like Sophia’s connected with other families, participated in parent child programs, found help and received support from Prevention and Early Intervention Services at The George Hull Centre.