Blog Archives

Early Years Community Plan (EYCP) 2016-2020

The Hamilton Early Years Community Plan (EYCP) 2016–2020 builds on a decade of collective leadership in planning and implementing a comprehensive system of services and supports for children and families.

Over the past four years, significant progress has been made towards achieving the goals set in the last Early Years Community Plan (EYCP) 2012-2015, and the EYCP 2016-2020 builds on this strong foundation.  The Hamilton EYCP 2016-2020 provides the community with the opportunity to look back on its achievements and to move forward by designing an integrated system that can effectively respond to the changing landscape and priorities of the early years programs and services.

The plan outlines the strategic priorities and recommended goals for the Hamilton early years system over the next five years.   It reflects the community-wide commitment to the principles of the Best Start Network (BSN) and the important learnings and beliefs reflected in the Hamilton Parent Charter of Rights, Hamilton’s Charter of Rights of Children and Youth, and the 2014 framework created by Ontario’s Ministry of Education in How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years.

All Early Years Community Plan documents are available here.

For more information or to order printed copies of the EYCP 2016-2020 Executive Summary send an email to Jessica Chase or call 905-546-2424 ext. 3590.

New Resource to Improve the Referral Process

Created by the System of Care Work Group of the Hamilton Best Start Network, the Pathway to Connect is a new resource that provides professionals with several options when connecting families and their children with a variety of universal and specialized services available in the Hamilton community prior to school entry.

Developed for professionals working with families and children aged 0-3.8 years, the purpose of the Pathway to Connect is to simplify service entry and ensure that families are instantly connected to the most appropriate service to meet their needs. The Pathway to Connect offers professionals with information on many services, including, speech/language, vision and hearing, and parental well-being and parenting.

To view/print the Pathway to Connect, click here. To order printed copies of the pathway, send an email to or call 905-546-2424 ext. 3010.

An overview on the development of the pathway and guide on how to use this resource is available here. For more information on the Pathway to Connect, contact Nancy Hurley at

Catalogue provides information to help families with basic needs

Families that require financial assistance on basic needs, such as food, housing, and employment, now have access to a catalogue that provides detailed information on applying for provincial and federal funding. Created by the Basic Needs Work Group of the Hamilton Best Start Network, the Basic Needs Financial Supports Catalogue is an easy-to-read resource that is intended for families and children, 18 years and younger, and provides a broad list of income supports for various basic needs, contact information, and what is needed to apply.

The catalogue is available online.

To order printed copies of the catalogue, send an email to or call 905-905-546-2424 ext. 3010.

City of Hamilton responds to CCEYA Phase 2 Regulations

The Ministry of Education is taking a multi-year, phased approach to the development and implementation of new regulations under the Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA). The Ministry recently released phase two of the Child Care and Early Years and Education Act and is seeking feedback from early years communities across Ontario.

In March, the early years community and Best Start Network came together to develop a community response to the Ministry about the proposed changes. To read the full response, click here.

This response has been submitted to the Ministry of Education on behalf of the City of Hamilton and early years community.

OEYC in Winona now open!

Ontario Early Years Centres (OEYC) provide a range of parenting, health and educational resources and supports for children from prenatal to six years.

The Winona Recreation Centre is now open and includes an OEYC for children and families. Visit the new site at 255 Winona Rd, Hamilton or call 905-546-2424 ext. 1244.

The OEYC is open Monday to Thursday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Friday 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

For more information on recreation programs available on site, click here.

Children’s Charter of Rights Exhibit

Children’s Charter of Rights Exhibit tour locations:

You can visit the exhibit at the following locations:

  • Arcelor Mittal Dofasco Arena and Recreation Centre On display: February 29 to May 3, 2016
  • McMaster Children’s Hospital, Main Street West Location On display: May 3 to May 31, 2016
  • Hamilton Public Library (Central) On display: May 31 to August 31, 2016
  • Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre On display: September 2016
  • Les Chater YMCA On display:  October 2016
  • Huntington Park/Westmount Recreation Centres On display:  November 2016
  • Flamborough Family YMCA On display: December 2016

Children's Charter picThe Charter Exhibit contains the following items:

  • Charter of Rights of Children and Youth panels including rights and responsibilities
  • Children’s Charter Book – A book containing the expression of children’s rights of children ages 0 – 5 through words and drawings
  • The Voices of Children Carried by a Thousand Paper Cranes’ –1,000 paper cranes each inscribed with rights from children ages 6 to 12, hanging from a sculpture created by artist Dave Hind, created in partnership with Culture for Kids in the Arts
  • Child and Youth Charter Mosaic – Each piece of artwork was created by youth ages 13 – 17 and designed into a collage by a local artist, Chris Andrade in partnership with Art Forms Youth Art Studio.

The Charter Exhibit will tour the community at various locations through 2016.

Learn more about the Charter of Rights here.

Hamilton Best Start reflects on the first 10 years

Hamilton Best Start’s 10th Anniversary video reflects on the first 10 years of Making Hamilton the Best Place to Raise a Child.

Free dental care for children in Hamilton

Healthy Smiles Ontario

Good oral health is important to children’s overall health. Yet, for some, regular dental care may not be affordable. Healthy Smiles Ontario is a program for children 17 and under who do not have access to any form of dental coverage. If eligible, your children will get regular dental services at no cost to you.

Who is eligible?

Children 17 and under may be eligible if:

  • They are residents of Ontario;
  • They are members of a household that meets the income eligibility requirements; and
  • They do not have access to any form of dental coverage (including other government-funded programs, like Ontario Works).
  • You will need to show specific documents during the enrollment process.

Call 905-546-2424 ext. 3566 for more information

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