EarlyON Child and Family Centre Services and Responsibilities

The City of Hamilton is responsible for managing the local EarlyON Child and Family Centre system. 

Objectives and guiding principles

EarlyON Child and Family Centres are designed and delivered to achieve these key goals and objectives:

  • Parents and caregivers have access to high quality services that support them in their role as their children’s first teachers, enhance their well-being, and enrich their knowledge about early learning and development.
  • Children have access to play and inquiry-based learning opportunities and experience positive developmental health and well-being.
  • Parents and caregivers have opportunities to strengthen their relationships with their children.
  • Francophone children and families have access to French language programs and gain enhanced knowledge about language and identity acquisition.
  • Indigenous children and families have access to culturally responsive programming.
  • Parents and caregivers are provided with timely, relevant and up to date information about community and specialized services.
  • Local service providers collaborate and integrate services to meet community needs in an efficient and accessible way. 

These principles guide the development, delivery and evaluation of EarlyON Child and Family Centre programs and services in Hamilton:

  • Child and family centred: programs and services are designed and delivered to meet the unique needs of parents, caregivers and young children to support their learning, development and well-being.
  • Welcoming: provide a warm and welcoming environment to support growth and long-term success, creating a sense of belonging, well-being, engagement and expression.
  • High quality: support positive experiences and outcomes by offering programs and services that foster nurturing relationships between children, parents and caregivers.
  • Inclusive: programs and services are accessible and responsive to children, parents and caregivers with varying abilities and cultural, language, socio-economic, sexual orientation and religious backgrounds.
  • Integrated: programs and services are developed in collaboration with broader community services, school  boards, early years partners, primary care providers, parents and caregivers.
  • Community led: Communities, educators, parents and caregivers are engaged in designing EarlyON Centre programs and services that embrace and build on their strengths, address identified gaps and meet their unique needs.

Child and Family Centre Vision

The City of Hamilton is aligning itself with Ontario’s vision for the early years and child care. Child and Family Centres are intended to support all children, parents and caregivers in learning, growing and connecting together by having access to a range of high-quality, inclusive and affordable early years and child care programs and services. 

Core services

At EarlyON Child and Family Centres, children and families across the City of Hamilton have access to high quality services free of charge. These services include: 

  • Information sharing and conversations about child development, parenting, nutrition, play and inquiry-based learning, and other topics that support the role of parents and caregivers.
  • Pre and postnatal support programs to enhance parent and caregiver well-being that enrich adult-child interactions with children present.
  • Targeted outreach opportunities for parent and caregivers not currently using Children and Family Centre Services (e.g., newcomers to Ontario, teen parents, low-income families, etc.)
  • Offering support to parents and caregivers by responding to concerns about their child’s development and connecting them to additional supports for primary care or other regulated health professionals.
  • Sharing information and facilitating connections with specialized community services such as public health, education, child care and child welfare.
  • Providing information about programs and services available for the whole family beyond the early years.

Policies and procedures

All EarlyON Child and Family Centre programs are delivered in a way that promotes the health, safety and well-being of children and families being served.  All service providers have policies and procedures in place regarding:

  • Vulnerable Sector Screens
  • First Aid
  • Emergency Plans
  • Sanitation and maintenance
  • Workplace health and safety relating to staff
  • Complaints and resolutions processes
  • Reporting serious incidents to the City of Hamilton 

Logo for the EarlyON Child and Family Centres