The First Steps Early Years Refugee Settlement Program is a play-based program designed for newly arrived refugee children aged birth to five and their parents or 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:
First Steps 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, navigating Canadian systems, and 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.