Our Access Program
We incorporate an individualized, culturally responsive and trauma-informed service in the facilitation of parenting/family time for the families we serve. We ensure the facilitation is child focused and family driven. Our goals are to see improved family connections, relationships, stability, resiliency and capacity building through family and community connections.
We offer these support services during the week including Saturdays at our two main locations 2206 Eglinton Ave. E and Robertson House on Keele Street. We also have shared community partnership space for access within Toronto.
Facilitated Conference Program
The Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto has a Facilitated Conference Program that focuses on bringing families together to make decisions regarding their children. We strongly believe that families know what’s best for themselves and that plans work best when families create them. The conferencing process reflects the understanding of the importance of families having a voice in decision making and having people that they trust participating in the decision-making process, i.e., extended family members, friends, neighbours, church community, etc. The process is facilitated by a Conference Facilitator who ensures that everyone participating in the conference has an opportunity to share the strengths about the family, the worries they have and their thoughts about how to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone in the family.
A Facilitated Conference can be used in many situations. Some examples include:
- Children at risk of coming into the care of the Society who could benefit from a gathering of their support network and service providers to work on a plan to avoid placement in care.
- Children who have been admitted to care who could benefit from a gathering of their support network and service providers to explore any extended family members that can care for them and make a plan to ensure they have contact with their parents or other important people.
- Regularly scheduled conferences to keep a child’s plan moving forward for the worker and family
- When the family and the service team do not agree on a plan and need an opportunity to negotiate and decide how to proceed.
- Planning access visits
- When working with a youth, i.e., youth in the community needing support, a youth leaving care, VYSA
A conference can be requested by a service team member or a service user.
Family finding is a process that seeks to build permanent, caring relationships and life-long connections for children/youth and their families.
CCAS Family Finders work to discover and connect with family members and/or other people you or your child consider as family. This is done in order to build a supportive network around your child by:
- Contacting you and other family members via phone, email, letter, face to face meetings
- Utilizing the Internet and social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.) to locate additional family members
- Researching child welfare records to obtain any relevant information
To Young People in Care
You deserve to know who you are, where you come from, who loves you and who will be part of your life. Family finders can work together with you to connect with family you already know, reconnect with family you’ve lost contact with and even discover family you never knew about!
Permanency, safety and well-being of children are central to our work
Permanency can mean different things for you and your child.
It can include:
- Family members helping to support plans which may include reunification
- Your child living with family members/kin instead of foster care
- Building life-long family connections and support for your child
Benefits of family finding
There are many advantages to having family involved.
- People to support you in planning for your child
- Support with major decisions
- Opportunity to learn more about your family
- Shared history
- People to accept you for who you are
- A place to call home
- Sharing life’s ups and down
- People to trust
- Increase in ideas, possibilities and perspectives
Our Family Support Program offers help to families in the community and Resource Families (Kinship, Foster, Adoption) receiving protection services from CCAS.
This is a voluntary support program that sets goals with caregivers, children and youth for service and interventions. Our family Support Worker provides information about community-based agencies who advocate and connect families to programs which focus on strengthening family relationships, attachment, parenting education and permanency.
What we offer:
- Helping parents/caregivers understand children at different ages and appropriate development
- Supporting positive family relationships and interactions
- Promote knowledge and understanding of the impact of trauma, loss and grief and how this can impact a child’s behaviour so that caregivers can better support the needs of the child/youth
- Put families and caregivers are at the centre of the support program – setting pace, goals and direction so that their collective needs are met
- Provide information on community resources available to parents/carevgivers and linking families to appropriate resources
- Connect families caring for a child/youth with special needs or where a parent may have special needs to additional supports
- Provide services and support that promote permanency for children and youth
The Health Specialists Team respond to referrals from CCAS service areas. Health Specialists work with families in their homes to support the health, well-being and safety of parents, infants and young children. We connect families to supports and services in the community.
For some helpful tips and guidance to keep your child safe, please see these links.
Immigration Program Services
Effective advocacy makes all the difference
CCAS services are constantly adapting to meet the changing needs of our service recipients. As the city of Toronto continues to become increasingly diverse, unresolved immigration issues now impact many families served by CCAS.
In response to these growing needs, we have developed an Immigration Program as part of our commitment to providing equitable supports and services for children and young people in care, and families in the community.
The services of our Child Protection Immigration Specialist are unique to CCAS and provide the following types of assistance:
- Preparing immigration documents and supporting children and young people through immigration proceedings
- Providing referrals to law firms that offer pro-bono services
- Securing legal status or Canadian Citizenship on behalf of children and young people in extended Society care and others in the community
- Serving as a resource for our staff, community members, and community partners
An unresolved immigration status can pose serious difficulty and risk for our service recipients. Our Immigration Specialist’s work with young people, families and community partners has been highly effective in resolving many immigration related-issues.
Violence Against Women Program
Domestic violence is a common experience for many women involved in the child welfare system. Research indicates that children who witness intimate partner violence are at risk for a host of troubling short and long-term outcomes including internalizing and externalizing problems, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use and school-related difficulties in both childhood and adolescence.
Our innovative co-location program has brought together the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto and violence against women (VAW) workers from Catholic Family Services, Juliette’s Place, and Yorktown Women’s Shelter to offer support and services to women and their children and assist them in healing from the trauma of domestic violence.
The VAW workers devote time to connect with women in order to understand their experiences, unpack the impact of the cycle of violence and work on safety planning. This work takes place in a context that is voluntary and at the pace that works for the women. This is not something that Child Welfare Protection Workers can always provide. Further, women in abusive relationships can benefit from being connected to community resources, with VAW workers holding expert knowledge of resources available locally that meet the needs of women.
This program also offers the opportunity for internal knowledge mobilization, through the sharing of approaches and resources with Protection Workers. This has the potential to assist Protection Staff in expanding their toolbox when working with families who have experienced domestic violence.
Complex Special Needs Services
Children and youth with special needs are individuals who require multiple supports and services to help them thrive. Our Special Needs Team is committed to providing specialized, quality care to children and youth with special needs that values inclusion, belonging, and facilitates a smooth transition to adulthood. We make connections to service from the initial phone call and link families with help in the community. We provide consultation, education and direct service to children/youth with special needs.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) services are provided by a team of trained specialists at CCAS. These services include: consultations, training, raising awareness events, and providing information and linkages to community-based services. We co-facilitate a monthly FASD Support Group for caregivers who are raising children/youth who have, or are suspected to have, FASD.
We do have access to FASD Respite Funding for approved families. Please connect with your CCAS worker to find out more.
French Language Services
The Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto is a designated French Language Service agency that connects Francophone children, youth and families to supports and services in their language of origin. We are committed to providing child protection services in your preferred language and referrals to French language community partners who can support you and your family. If you would like to receive services in French or prefer to speak with someone in French, please indicate your preference when calling our agency. You can also visit our French website for more information.