WALLACEBURG & AREA PARENT & PRESCHOOL PROGRAM
“THE FAMILY CENTRE”
The Wallaceburg Adolescent Parent Project developed in response to a need of child care support and assistance for needy adolescent parents and young single parents wishing to continue their education. The original logo was two books, positioned so that they implied a house. These books represent the Educational aspirations of the participants and our unique relationship with the Kent County Board of Education. The “home” relates to the “home setting” of Supervised Home Day Care. Within the home is the caregiver and the children in care.
The Conversion of Country Playmates under the direction of Wallaceburg Adolescent Parent Project, made a new name necessary. The Wallaceburg & Area Parent & Preschool Program, Inc. wanted to develop a name and logo that would embody the principle of both establishments. Country Playmates developed with the vision that the “country setting” lent to a warm, friendly and supportive attitude toward the families it served. The Board of Directors of Wallaceburg Adolescent Parent Project felt that all families, regardless of family or cultural diversity, are to be supported and treated with respect. From this, the new name “The Family Centre” was borne. The focus of our programs and services must always support and centre on “Families”.
The new logo still implies the “Books of Learning”, but our “Home” and Services have grown. Within our new Centre, once housed a Child Care Centre, Supervised Home Day Care, and a Drop-in/Resource Services. Within the Centre, the families are clearly represented.
History of The Family Centre
* In 1992 a representative of the Lester B Pearson Centre approached Community Child Care staff regarding supportive programming for adolescent parents for Wallaceburg.
* A sub committee was formed to discuss options, including Mary Anne Fetterly (Nurse at the Margaret Ave Medical Centre), Larry Peters (guidance counselor at WDSS), Harriet Jacobs (native counselor at WDSS), Suzanne Jacobs(Parent support staff Walpole Island), Carol Holling (interested community member), Marlene Jamieson(Heritage Children’s Centre Staff) and Cindy Mussio(Community Child Care)
*The group developed a proposal that was submitted to the Ministry of Community and Social Services(now MCYS) applying for “JobsOntario” funding to begin a Supervised Home Child Care Agency for Adolescent parents. The purpose of this program was to provide teen parents subsidized child care for their infants on the condition that they remain in school to complete their high school education. A special support group was formed to provide these young mothers with life-skills and parenting education and support.
*At the same time, the group applied for Incorporation Status for the “Wallaceburg Adolescent Parent Program”, and developed a Board of Directors. The program became functional in 1994. Management of the program was under Community Child Care.
*In keeping with government initiatives at the time, private –sector child care centres were being urged to convert to non-profit programs. A privately owned local centre, Country Playmates approached the Board of Directors of Wallaceburg Adolescent Parent Program, to absorb this program under its leadership.
*In Spring of 1995, MCSS provided conversion funding as well as capital funding for the program to expand and move to a refurbished centre at 61 McNaughton Ave. The Incorporated name changed to Wallaceburg & Area Parent & Preschool Program. The Centre was provided funding for the existing Supervised Home Child Care Program, a full service licensed Child Care Centre, and a new Resource Drop in Program. At this time, the Centre became known as “The Family Centre”.
*In fall of 1995, the Child Care Centre moved from its rural location on Dufferin Ave, to McNaughton Ave. This same year, JobsOntario funding was discontinued, and the Centre lost the funding to continue to provide Supervised Home Child Care Services.
*April 1, 1997, the Resource portion of The Family Centre was absorbed into the Heritage Children’s Centre, as phase 1 of restricting of services that would later become Chatham-Kent Integrated Children’s Services (absorbing the Children’s Aid Society, Lester B Pearson Centre, and Heritage Children’s Centre)
*July 2006, The Family Centre received funding dollars for Best Start and expanded to 4 locations across Wallaceburg. This included a full Hub located in St. Elizabeth School, a Before and After School Program at HW Burgess, and a Before and After School Program at Holy Family School.
*With the start of Full Day Learning in schools, HW Burgess needed our classroom back and the St. Clair Catholic District School Board offered us a space at Christ the King school. We opened our new classroom in January 2012.
*January 2015, The Family Centre acquired the Wallaceburg Childcare Learning Centre after the Municipality of Chatham –Kent’s announcement to no longer directly operate childcare centres. It was named the University Site.
*After acquiring the University Site, the Board of Directors decided that the building was underutilized and there was space for more children to attend this location. After renovations, The Family Centre relocated the Main Site location into the newly acquired University site in January 2016.