‘A GREAT START FOR FAMILIES: KAHWÀ:TSIRE RONWATIYENAWÁ:SE CENTRE’
KINGSTON, ONT. – A much needed community support service Centre opens Saturday, October 15 at 263 Weller Ave. Designed from the community’s request, this initiative is a collaborative response between United Way of KFL&A, City of Kingston, and Family and Children’s Services. Families with children aged 0-6 or expectant parents will now be able to access 40 plus community services/resources all in one location. This Centre is unique as it provides a child-minding room, so parents can access services while their child is safe and onsite. This project is part of the provincial transformation of the child welfare system, to benefit families and their children.
Named ‘A Great Start for Families: Kahwà:tsire Ronwatiyenawá:se Centre’, includes Mohawk language meaning ‘we all work together to support each other’ or ‘we are giving support to someone’. “This Centre’s approach creates a ‘one stop shop’ for services, particularly when a family is in crisis,” says Ruth Noordegraaf, Director of Social Services & Housing at the City of Kingston “Ultimately the Centre will reduce barriers for services that can help prevent further crisis or escalation of need.”
With a focus on early intervention and support, the Centre will help families understand what services are available, how to access them or listen to what services the community requires. “We want young children and their families to feel safe, welcomed, and understood in a judgement free environment,” Says Lousanne Rodè, Centre Manager. The services offered range from difficult issues that affect families like mental health concerns, drug addiction or counselling but it also embraces softer services to form community fellowship like mom and baby yoga, healthy cooking, and well-baby checks. “Programing is available to both moms and dads with young children,” Rodè added
Family and Children’s Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (FACSFLA) are thrilled to be a part of this new initiative. “We know the need is growing and we are committed to finding creative solutions to help young children and their families,” said Sonia Gentile, Executive Director of FACSFLA. “This holistic approach will include the crucial voice of the people we are hoping to serve.”
The preventative need for this integrated service model is well documented as, last year, approximately 1250 child welfare referrals were investigated with the most prevalent issues being related to substance use, intimate partner violence (IPV), and mental health.
“We’re very excited about peer and network support for people participating in this program. They will be able to connect with others with similar backgrounds, networks and cultures.” says Bhavana Varma, CEO, United Way of KFL&A. Young children and their families will have access to services with a cultural approach that is inclusive of identity, race, language, and the lived experience of all community members, including but not limited to First Nations, Inuit, Métis, Black, LGBTQ2S+ identities. This initiative is part of an intentional approach to reduce the racial overrepresentations in the child welfare system.
263 Weller Ave. Unit #4
MEDIA & PROFESSIONAL SERVICES DAY: Friday October 14, 11am to 1pm OR 3:30pm to 6:00pm Mayor Bryan Paterson scheduled to visit between 11am – 1pm
COMMUNITY OPENING: Saturday October 15, 10am to 1pm
Free Food, Tours of Centre, Free Child-minding while parents learn about services
“We welcome donations to our child-minding room or anything young families may need. Healthy snacks, diapers, wipes, baby gates, and grocery store gift certificates.” Rode’s adds “We want to easily give to families who may be struggling, a place for families to come for any help. We want families to not just survive but thrive!”