Our Services

First Steps Early Years Refugee Program

First Steps Early Years Refugee Program

The First Steps Early Years Refugee Settlement Program has been designed to serve both newly arrived refugee children ages birth to five and their caregivers. The project is jointly managed by DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, Options Community Services and Umoja Operation Compassion Society. The project serves families from two sites: a “First Steps” Centre at DIVERSEcity and a “Hand in Hand” site at Umoja.

Services provided at First Steps

  • Family Drop-In program
  • Play-Based Early Childhood Education
  • Parenting Workshops
  • Nutrition, Health and Wellness Support
  • Crisis Counselling
  • Father’s Groups
  • Middle Years Activities for the 6-12 year old siblings with First Steps families
  • Home Visiting Service
  • Outreach Service

This project works to minimize the impact of trauma and the refugee experience on the growth and development of children and their caregivers through informational and experiential sessions on parenting in the Canadian context, advice for navigating Canadian systems, and help with health and wellness. Children and their caregivers are provided opportunities to engage in play-based activities to support all areas of healthy early-childhood development. Outreach services are provided to connect families to mainstream services including Recreation Centres, Strong Start programs, Family Resource Programs, Food Banks, Libraries, Settlement Services and more. In order to be eligible for the First Steps Program, the client must be a Government Assisted Refugee, Privately Sponsored Refugee, or Convention Refugee.

For more information or to make a referral, please contact the Manager of Children’s Programs at 604-547-2016 or jforster@dcrs.ca.