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Building a Family Centred Service System

When our community came together to form the Child and Youth Network we committed to improving outcomes for children, youth and families. When they told us that it was difficult to navigate our system of programs and services in London and how they had to tell their story numerous times before they could access the right service, we collectively decided that we needed to do better.

A comprehensive plan has been developed by our network. This plan is based on a system of Family Centres in neighbourhoods that will provide an integrated menu of programs and services for children, youth and families.  Within neighbourhoods, the Family Centre is the single, recognizable door to whatever services a family may be looking for. 

FCSS Image 1 March 2013London’s Family Centre model addresses our approach to: measurement and evaluation; creating an Interprofessional community of practice amongst staff in the Centres; connecting families to programs and services; community development; marketing and communication of the Centres; and, governance of the Centres. It also identified the values and principles that guide our work together. It details how we will work with the community to develop a vision for the centres and a vision for how the system of family centres will look and feel. As we build this system, and learn from our experiences creating this new and innovative model, we will need to continue our dialogue and delve deeper into the details of how we implement the system.   This work will continue through the collaborative process of committee work.

In January, our community moved from the planning done by London’s System Reengineering committee to a Family Centred Service System that will govern how we support our system of Family Centres.  A draft term of reference was discussed at the new Family Centre Service System Committee. We have moved from planning to doing!

FCSS Image 2 March 2013This was evident at the Service Planning days in January for the Westmount and Carling-Thames neighbourhoods.  Families and service providers came together to make the vision for the neighbourhood’s Family Centre a reality.   

Organizations and individuals talked to each other about who they are and what they do for families in the neighbourhood.  Understanding what each other does helps to inform how different organizations will work together to build a stronger community where programs and resources are planned collaboratively for the neighbourhood.

Partners talked together about the purpose and strengths of collaborating together on an ongoing basis with a strategic focus.  Ultimately this will lead us towards the creation of Family Centres in every London neighbourhood.