Ontario Early Years Centre officially opens in Sudbury

Archived Release

Ontario Early Years Centre officially opens in Sudbury

Ministry of Community and Social Services

SUDBURY, ON, March 18 /CNW/ - The ribbon cutting to officially open the Sudbury Ontario Early Years Centre on behalf of Minister Responsible for Children John Baird took place today.
"I congratulate the many members of this community who joined together to work on this project," said Dave Zuccato, Acting Regional Director, Northern Regional Office, Ministry of Community and Social Services. "These centres will provide parents with the opportunity to give their children the best possible start in life. They will support them in their critical role of raising their children to reach their full potential."
Ontario Early Years Centres will serve as gateways to a variety of programs, services and information for parents and caregivers of young children. The centres will provide:

- Literacy and interactive learning activities;
- Parenting programs covering all aspects of early child development;
- Pre- and post-natal resources, information and training;
- Information and referrals to link families with external services;
and
- Outreach to encourage parent participation.

Ontario Early Years Centres are part of the province's proactive Early Years Plan, which reflects the findings of the Early Years Study commissioned by the government in 1998. The study found that the years before six lay the foundation for a child's life-long learning, health and well-being.
"These centres demonstrate the government's commitment to focusing on the early years," said Lois Mahon, Executive Director, Ontario Early Years Centre- Sudbury. "All parents, regardless of their needs, will be able to come here to start their young children on the road to healthy development," added Margaret Ignacy, Executive Director, Ontario Early Years Centre-Sudbury-Nickel Belt.
A total of 42 Ontario Early Years Centres will open this spring across Ontario. An additional 61 centres will open during spring 2003, bringing the total network of centres to 103.

BACKGROUNDER
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March 18, 2002

Ontario Early Years Centres

On May 10, 2001, Minister Responsible for Children John Baird highlighted a $30 million commitment to establish Ontario Early Years Centres across the province. The centres would support parents in their important role and serve as a location for accessing a range of services and connecting with other programs in the community.
The government is now opening the first Ontario Early Years Centres. Each centre will serve as a "gateway" for parents to get answers to questions about their young children and referrals to services. They will also be a focal point for communities, allowing different groups and agencies to come together and work with parents in supporting their children.
Centres will offer a mix of universal supports that address common needs, such as literacy programs and resources for parents. They will also include other targeted services, tailored to the unique needs of local communities. The centres will be staffed with early years professionals and volunteers to help parents find the information, programs or services they require to help their children get the best possible start in life.
The 42 Ontario Early Years Centres opening this spring are located in 17 communities: North Bay, Muskoka/Parry Sound, London and area, Niagara, Hastings/Prince Edward, Grey Bruce and Huron, Peterborough, Sudbury, Windsor, Leeds-Grenville, Halton, Brant, Thunder Bay area, York, Ottawa area, Simcoe, and Lanark/Carleton. An additional 61 Ontario Early Years Centres will open during spring 2003, bringing the total network of centres to 103.
Funding for the centres comes from the National Children's Agenda, through which the federal government is transferring funds to provinces to enhance early years programs and services. Ontario's share of the National Children's Agenda funding is $114 million for 2001-02.

Community Champions

Ontario Early Years Centre Community Champions led the community planning process for the Early Years Centres. The champions were selected for their experience with local planning initiatives for children's services. Last fall, the champions brought together key sectors to develop the individual plans for each centre, including: lead agency, location in an existing facility, the identification of other community needs, professional and volunteer staffing requirements, and information and resources for parents.
For further information: Ben Hamilton, Minister Baird's Office, (416) 325-5572; Anne Machowski, Media Line, Ministry of Community and Social Services, (416) 325-5156