The Ujima Project began in January 2022 and is being funded by a generous anonymous donor. The donor’s generosity will help create new opportunities for better outcomes over the years for children and their parents.
The Ujima Project is a one-stop model of access to services for young parents that strives to meet their children’s early developmental needs. Through a partnership with Massey Centre and the Ontario Association of Young Parent Agencies (OAYPA), Early Childhood Development Hubs have been created in 9 of its member agencies’ facilities. The Hub staff will collaborate with non-Hub agencies in their areas to ensure that young families that need services are supported. The Ujima Project will provide support and essential programs and services such as early development, attachment and bonding, early language and literacy, and family/service navigation to young parents and their children. Working collaboratively together, rather than in service silos, our goal is to support the best outcomes for children and their young parents.
We address optimal infant-mother attachment and bonding by using Baby Love (created by Dr. Jean Wittenberg from SickKids), a preventive intervention program that helps caregivers form secure, healthy attachment relationships with their babies to ensure their best outcomes.
Early literacy, communication, and development is a priority for us. By using the evidence-based tool Ages and Stages Questionnaires (ASQ) we will provide regular and routine development screenings of the babies’ developmental progress. Our Program Coordinators, Early Literary Services, and Family Navigator work closely with parents to provide practices and strategies for optimal baby health, learning, and development.
We understand that access to resources and services isn’t equal for everybody. Through our Hub-and-spoke model and Family Navigators, we hope to reduce the barriers to accessing services. Family Navigators will work closely with families to provide consistent, safe, and a reliable support system and referrals to partner agencies.
This essential work couldn’t be done without the support of other organizations. We have created partnerships with SickKids’ Young Families Program to provide clinical support and services, the Infant Mental Health Promotion team at SickKids and Queen’s University researchers who will evaluate project outcomes.
The 9 Hubs are located at: