Early childhood development programs for on-Reserve, off-Reserve (including urban) First Nations, Inuit and Métis children ages three to six and their families. The Federally-funded Aboriginal Head Start (AHS) is designed to meet the spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical needs of the child. All projects are sponsored, designed and implemented by indigenous nonprofit organizations in the local community. Each AHS project stresses traditional knowledge and pride in indigenous heritage, good nutrition, healthy lifestyles and preparation for school. Parents and families are encouraged to be involved in all aspects of program development, delivery, management and evaluation. AHS also provides a focal point for non-reserve-based indigenous communities to organize themselves around the needs of their children and to revitalize indigenous cultures and languages.
Programs that provide problem-solving consultation and advice for parents and child care providers to support children who are experiencing behavioural or emotional challenges in their child care setting that put them at risk for losing access to their child care. The program aims to ensure the success of all children in child care and increase the number of families and child care providers who effectively nurture the social and emotional development of young children in licensed child care programs. Services include observation and assessment, home visits, child care site visits, behaviour management strategies for the child care setting and the home, adaptations in the child care environment, team planning and community referrals, and staff training. The programs differ from community to community in a number of ways including the type of services provided (behavioural-oriented versus therapy-oriented), the credentials of professionals providing the service (licensed therapists, behaviourists, early childhood specialists/educators), and the degree to which they work individually with children and families.
Facilities that promote healthy child development by offering a variety of activities, resources and information for parents/caregivers and children from birth to age six. Families are encouraged to drop in or may participate in a variety of scheduled activities and programs such as playgroups; early learning, parenting and life skills instruction; nutrition programs; and toy libraries. Outreach services and programs for expectant couples may also be included.
Programs that work with families involved with the child welfare system using a process that brings together the strengths of families outside the courtroom setting to find solutions for children who have come into foster care or are at risk for placement outside the home due to abuse or neglect. If successful, children can safely remain with or return to a family member or, possibly, their parents, rather than be placed for adoption or have some other permanent goal established for them. Typically a case worker meets with immediate family members to identify the larger family unit to participate in the process, and a neutral coordinator works with the family as they discuss issues and options. Then the family works privately to develop a plan of action. People involved in the process may include parents, grandparents, other kin, children, tribal elders (where relevant) and individuals whom the family considers to be supportive (e.g., neighbours, clergy). In most instances, families participate in family group conferencing on a voluntary basis, though in a few locations, meetings are court-ordered.
Programs that provide a variety of short-term, intensive, home-based intervention services for families experiencing a crisis that is so severe that children are at imminent risk for placement outside the family setting. Services, which are aimed at ameliorating the underlying causes of family dysfunction, are generally time-limited, of fairly short duration and available on a 24-hour basis. Also included are other family preservation program models whose programs vary in terms of the population served, the level of intensity of services provided and the length of services. The objective of family preservation programs is to preserve the family as a unit and prevent unnecessary placement of the children in foster care, a group home, an inpatient substance abuse or mental health treatment program, a residential training school or other alternative living arrangement.
Programs that provide a wide variety of social services that are designed to support the healthy development of families, improve family interaction skills and help fragile families to resolve their problems at a pre-crisis stage before they become unmanageable. Services may be centre-based or provided on an outreach basis to families who are initially reluctant to seek support and generally target the specific needs of a particular community. Included may be self-sufficiency programs which help families break the cycle of poverty by addressing the barriers to self-sufficiency; early child development and school success programs; programs which address the needs of teen parents; programs which target parents at risk for becoming abusive; programs for families with children who have special developmental needs and programs that focus on the maternal and child health care needs of first-time, expectant women whose babies are at high risk for low birth weight and infant mortality.
Programs, often offered directly by schools, that develop collaborative partnerships with public and private community agencies to meet the mental health, juvenile justice, social service and academic needs of school children whose struggles with multiple problems including poor physical or mental health, inadequate nutrition, substance abuse, family dysfunction or insufficient community support are affecting their educational performance. The purpose of these programs is to develop an integrated services delivery system through which existing resources are coordinated and made available to children and youth, their parents and family members at or near the school site.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.