Thunder Bay – FAMILY –th, 2016- Parents and caregivers now have easy access to child resources in northwestern Ontario. Today, Dilico Anishinabek Family Care alongside community groups and organizations unveiled the Middle Years Resource Guide Northwestern Ontario. It’s a “one-stop shop” for parents and caregivers looking for information and links to services and community resources offered in the city and District of Thunder Bay.
“We kept hearing from parents that they knew these resources exist, but it was a challenge to search and find exactly what they were looking for;” says Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, Director of Mental Health, John Dixon. “The Middle Years Resource Guide Northwestern Ontario is a practical tool for parents. It brings information and contacts together in one document for those looking for help and services and ensures families are aware of all of the options that are available in their communities. The end result is really helping children get the support they need.”
The Middle Years Resource Guide Northwestern Ontario is a result of the Ontario Youth Action Plan with funding provided by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. It is the first of seven guides to be developed in the province. The 123-page document will be available in public spaces such as community libraries, but will also be accessible online at: www.middleyearsguidenwo.ca. The guide provides resources and information pertaining to children’s mental health, education, childcare and after school programs, nutrition, cultural resources, sports, and emergency resources.
“Children ages 6 to 11 are considered to be in their middle years. This is a very critical learning period in their lives known as the formative period in which they become increasingly independent as they explore the world around them;” continues Dixon. “The knowledge and skills children gain during these middle years is crucial as it will continue to form the base of their intellectual, emotional and social growth for the rest of their lives. We invite you to read and utilize the information.”
The guide also includes an entire section on dealing with challenging behaviours and red flags for early intervention. It provides parents with helpful tips for supporting their children and dealing with problems at home. “Behavioural problems not addressed early can hinder development. Positive parenting strategies can go a long way to ensure their healthy, social development;” says Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, Director of Mental Health and Addictions, Tina Bobinski.
The Middle Years Resource Guide was created with a goal to be easy to use and includes colour coordinated tabs and headings to flip through quickly. It is the first document of its kind in the region. “The guide was created with the notion of wanting parents to spend more time with their children as opposed to searching for resources. Also in urgent situations, like emergency food programs, or finding a health centre, we wanted to make this as simple as possible;” says Bobinski.