Early Childhood Development (ECD) Program
for Pregnant & Parenting Women
The Harm Reduction Approach
The philosophy of the Stonehenge Early Childhood Development Program is one of Harm Reduction. The Harm Reduction philosophy is a public health philosophy that seeks to lessen the dangers that substance misuse causes to an individual and society. Education and other interventions are utilized to improve the safety of substance-related lifestyle choices. The desired outcome of a Harm Reduction approach is to decrease high-risk behaviours that in turn would support a decrease in HIV/AIDS infection and criminal activity. The Harm Reduction approach also improves the health status of an individual, increases employability and promotes positive contribution to the community.
Substance Use and Pregnancy
Alcohol and other drug use during pregnancy is a major public health concern. Substance-dependent women tend to neglect general health and prenatal care. Prenatal management is often difficult due to medical, obstetrical and emotional complications. Evidence suggests that women who use substances during pregnancy experience poorer birth outcomes. The negative consequences for babies do not stop at birth; home environments may be chaotic and children are often removed from their mothers’ care if substance abuse continues after birth.
Let's Grow Together Program
The purpose of Stonehenge's "Let’s Grow Together" program is to develop a multi-level model of treatment for substance-involved women who are pregnant and/or parenting. The services are available to women throughout the Guelph-Wellington-Dufferin region. To increase the services available to women in the program, partnerships and linkages have been developed with many community agencies including Public Health, Family & Children’s Services (F&CS), the Ontario Early Years Centre and Ontario Works (OW). These partnerships focus on the provision of integrated prenatal health services, parenting education, childcare, nutrition and mental health services.
The program consists of residential services (for women in our residential program) as well as a day support group and outreach-based services for women in the community. Stonehenge has reserved 2 beds in its Women’s Residential Program to accommodate pregnant women. Referrals are received from a number of sources including Alcohol & Drug Assessment Centres, Family & Children’s Services, Correctional Services and neighborhood groups.
Let's Grow Together Day Support Group
A Day Support Group is also offered by Stonehenge at our Administrative/Out-patient Services site at 60 Westwood Road. This group provides a range of services in one location for pregnant / parenting women and their children (0 – 6 years) including: addictions assessment and counseling, parenting education, public health services, childcare (including snacks), and consultations regarding legal, financial, and housing matters. The set-up of this group allows women to receive counselling while their children receive child care. Transportation and nutrition assistance are also offered as part of this program.
An Advisory Committee has been established consisting of a number of community partners. A multi-agency team delivers the program to ensure seamless service and to increase the support base available to women and their children. The program runs from 9:30-12:00pm every Wednesday. There may be a waitlist to get into this program.
Mother & child's bicycles at STC
Early Childhood Development Workshop
Enhancing community connections is also a priority of this program. The outreach program is one aspect of our community education strategy, which also includes a free two-hour training for service providers entitled "Asking the Tough Questions: Talking with Pregnant and Parenting Women about Their Substance Use". The goal of this workshop is to increase the comfort and sensitivity of service providers when discussing substance use with clients in order to increase the likelihood of early identification and appropriate referrals for women in need of support. For a fee, Stonehenge also offers a longer more comprehensive version of this workshop to service providers.
For more information about any of the above programs, please contact our Harm Reduction/ECD staff at (519) 837-0759.