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A Strong Start for Children

A Strong Start for Children

Below is a listing of the 2023-24 programs and services connected to the theme A Strong Start for Children. A complete description of Saskatchewan’s Children and Youth Strategy is found in the Executive Summary.


1. Early Intervention and Healthy Supports

Program/Initiative Purpose Partners
Early Childhood Intervention Program (ECIP) A home visiting program for children experiencing or at-risk of developmental disabilities or delays. They work with the child to provide developmental assessment and curriculum-based intervention to increase the developmental skill level of the child, as well as help increase the family’s parenting skills, connect families to community resources, and transition children successfully to school or other community-based supports as necessary. Ministry of Education, two school divisions, 12 community-based organizations, parents
Early Years Evaluation A screening tool administered to kindergarten students to identify a child’s learning strengths and challenges to guide instructional intervention with the goal of supporting positive development and foundations for continued school success. Teachers use the information they learn about the child to engage parents in their child’s learning and to plan as a system for responsive education programming and services. Ministry of Education, school divisions
Early Years Family Resource Centres A single trusted location within the community to make it easy for families to access a variety of programs and services. Services are open to families with young children aged prenatal to five and include early literacies, parenting support and stay and play. They can also access information and visit professionals like public health nurses, speech language pathologists or physical therapists in a welcoming environment. Ministries of Health, Education, Social Services, school divisions, Saskatchewan Health Authority, community-based organizations, Indigenous organizations, libraries, municipal government, service organizations, licensed child care, parents, Coaches Association
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Prevention/Education/Training Programs The Saskatchewan Prevention Institute focuses on increasing public and professional education and awareness, with the overall goal to decrease the prevalence of FASD in Saskatchewan.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority delivers FASD prevention programs in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert targeted to pregnant women who are at high risk for having a child with FASD until the child reaches two years of age.
The FASD Network of Saskatchewan Family Support Program assists affected families with parenting skills and accessing services, as well as providing training to service providers across the province on how to support individuals who have FASD.

The Northern Lights School Division (KidsFirst North) is an FASD Prevention initiative that focuses on prenatal women who have consumed alcohol during pregnancy.

The University of Saskatchewan, College of Medicine Clinical Teratology Program focuses primarily on enhancing diagnostic and assessment services for children and youth suspected of FASD, including the La Ronge Outreach Traveling Clinics.
Ministry of Health, Saskatchewan Health Authority, Saskatchewan Prevention Institute, FASD Network of Saskatchewan, Northern Lights School Division (KidsFirst North), University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine (Clinical Teratology)
In-Hospital Birth Questionnaire Administration of a screen at birth to assess the potential vulnerability of children for referrals to programs and to inform cross-sectoral human service planning including hotspots of complex needs families at the community and household level. Information gathered in the screen is used to engage the family in connecting with the timely and relevant supports. Ministry of Education, KidsFirst, Saskatchewan Health Authority
Mom and Kids Health Saskatchewan Mom and Kids Health Saskatchewan is delivered by the Saskatchewan Health Authority supporting the needs of patients who are pregnant, who are giving birth, and following birth to support the health and well-being of moms and kids as close to home as possible. Ministry of Health, Saskatchewan Health Authority
Postnatal Follow-up Postnatal follow-up in the community by Public Health Nurses provides families with newborns support with infant feeding, early childhood development, family adjustment, parenting and information on immunization. Public Health Nurses refer to different agencies or health care providers as needed and continue to follow as the family requires. Ministry of Health, Saskatchewan Health Authority, Indigenous Services Canada and Northern Intertribal Health Authority
Sanctum 1.5 Canada’s first HIV and High-Risk Prenatal home, providing supportive services to at-risk mothers who are experiencing substance abuse issues. Mothers are provided housing, stability and addiction services, pre-natal and post-natal health care, and supports and planning to prevent future child welfare involvement. Ministries of Social Services and Health, Saskatchewan Housing Corporation, Saskatchewan Health Authority and Sanctum
Sanctum Prenatal Outreach and Resource Team (PORT) Co-ordination and navigation of high-risk mothers up to and immediately following delivery. Sanctum Care Group’s Prenatal Outreach Resource Teams in Saskatoon offer wrap around supports for pregnant women with complex life situations by providing early and effective interventions in pregnancy that reduce health complications in mothers and their infants and supports at- risk infants to safely remain in their mother’s care. Ministries of Social Services and Health, Saskatchewan Housing Corporation, Saskatchewan Health Authority and Sanctum
Kate’s Place 24-hour supervised, stable and supportive housing to women and children with specialized program support that meet their spiritual, physical and emotional needs. Support areas include substance misuse reduction, parenting skills/knowledge, reunification with children in care, and programs to generally enhance their health and well-being. Justice ministries, Salvation Army in Regina
Support to High-risk Expectant Moms Co-ordination and navigation of high-risk mothers up to and immediately following delivery. Ministry of Social Services, Saskatchewan Health Authority
Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Regular delivery newborns receive a hearing screening test before being discharged from the hospital to identify any early signs of hearing difficulty. Ministry of Health, Saskatchewan Health Authority
Maternal Care Centre, Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital A single care Maternity Unit, where patients labour, deliver and stay in the same room until they are ready to leave the hospital.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) which provides specialized care for children with health complications after birth. Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), where children with complicated, serious or unpredictable conditions receive care.
Ministry of Health, Saskatchewan Health Authority
Early Childhood Assessment/Therapies

Early intervention and assessment services provided by the Saskatchewan Health Authority in many areas across the province may include, but not be limited to:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Early childhood psychology (assessment)
  • Speech language pathology
  • Social work
  • Local pediatricians *depending on availability
Ministry of Health, Saskatchewan Health Authority
KidsFirst Targeted KidsFirst Targeted is a voluntary program that helps families in vulnerable situations become the best parents they can be and to have the healthiest children possible.

A free, voluntary, home-based early childhood development program to help families in areas that have an impact on child health/development and family well-being. Families agree to weekly home visits and are provided support from a team of professionals (similar to the professions listed in the box above).
Ministry of Education, Saskatchewan Health Authority
KidsFirst Regional Offers free programming for groups of families with young children in rural communities and small cities not served by the KidsFirst Targeted program. The program also builds awareness of early childhood and parenting topics through social media, community directories and posters. Ministries of Education and Health, school divisions, Saskatchewan Health Authority, First Nations, libraries, community-based organizations
The Children’s Visiting Program Ongoing parenting programs for inmates operated by the Meyoyawin Circle. As part of the program, upon successful completion of any of their programs, the inmate can request and discuss the possibility of a contact visit with their children occurring in the CVP trailer.

Inmates who give birth and remain in custody may request contact and be granted contact visits in a pre-determined visiting area.
Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety, Meyoyawin Circle

2. Childcare and Early Learning

Program/Initiative Purpose Partners
Regulated Child Care through Canada-Saskatchewan Early Learning and Child Care Agreement Funding provided to the regulated child care sector which will increase affordability, access, inclusivity and quality within programs. Regulated centres and family child care homes meet and maintain standards; are monitored by Early Learning and Child Care consultants; and have their licence reviewed every year. Ministry of Education, school divisions, regulated child care facilities
Child Care Subsidy Helps to ensure regulated child care is affordable for low income parents who are working, seeking employment, or going to school. This program supports parents to have children in regulated child care facilities to best support early learning objectives and future academic success. Ministry of Social Services, licensed child care providers
Early Learning Intensive Support Program For children who have significant developmental delays and require intensive support to meet their potential. The program provides additional spaces in a Prekindergarten program to provide opportunities for children to engage in inclusive learning with other children their age. Support is provided through a collaborative team approach to meet the individual needs and promote strengths through learning and participation. Ministry of Education and school divisions and participating First Nations
Children Communicating, Connecting and in Community (4Cs) The program provides access to early educational intervention to support the development of communication skills for children who are Deaf and hard of hearing. Both oral and signed instruction options will be available to support the communication choice of families. Ministry of Education and school divisions
Play. Learn. Grow. Together! Campaign The Play. Learn. Grow. Together! campaign was launched as a way to reach out to parents of newborn to Kindergarten aged children with tips and information on how to enhance family learning at home. The website contains a series of videos aimed at supporting parents and caregivers in fostering skills that will last a lifetime. Ministry of Education
Prekindergarten A high-quality early learning program targeted for three- and four-year-old children and their families who experience vulnerability. The program focuses on fostering social development and self-esteem, nurturing educational growth, promoting language development. The program engages families in their child’s learning through home visits and ongoing communication with caregivers. Ministry of Education and school divisions
Kindergarten A universal, school-based early learning program for all five-year-olds on a half-day basis in provincial schools. Ministry of Education and school divisions
Saskatchewan Employment Supplement A monthly benefit that helps offset child-related costs of working such as child care, transportation, etc. It provides an incentive for families to earn additional income, reducing the need for social assistance. Ministries of Social Services and Education, licensed child care facilities
United Way 211 Parent Central The Ministry of Education partnered with United Way 211 Saskatchewan to launch Parent Central, an online resource that supports families’ ability to connect with early learning programs and services in their community. Parent Central includes a child care portal that has specific information about availability of licensed child care across the province that is searchable by needs/preferences of the parent and also support parents’ ability to connect to licensed child care in a less cumbersome or time-consuming manner. Ministry of Education, United Way Regina
Public Libraries Supporting Newcomers with Multilingual Resources Access to numerous leisure reading books in world languages. These books help newcomer children and their families retain their heritage language. In addition to assisting with secondary language acquisition, heritage language retention also provides many social, cultural and cognitive benefits. Many public libraries also provide free services and programs to assist newcomer children and their families. Ministry of Education, 11 library systems
Public Libraries Supporting Children and Families with Unique Reading Needs Children and youth have access to reference and leisure reading materials in alternate formats to develop and maintain a love of reading throughout their lifetime. Ministry of Education, 11 library systems
Public Libraries A safe place within the community where children can access a great variety of high-quality, selected resources, information and tools, in all formats including digital. Programs are also available across all age groups that develop independence, cognitive and social skills, as well as a variety of literacies. There are over 300 public library branches across the province. Ministry of Education, 11 library systems
Saskatchewan Family Literacy Hub Program Family Literacy Hubs (FLHs) are designated service providers within a region that work with libraries, schools, and community partners to provide family literacy programs, services, and supports for families. FLHs seek to improve the literacy abilities of both children and parents with a focus on reaching families with children pre-natal to age 6 to support literacy development prior to formal schooling. The Saskatchewan Literacy Network (SLN) provides provincial support to the FLHs. The Ministry of Education provides funding support to one school division, two post-secondary institutions, five community-based organizations, and the Saskatchewan Literacy Network (SLN) through the Family Literacy Hub

3. Foundations for Well-Being

Program/Initiative Purpose Partners
Active Families Benefit This program makes it more affordable for families to enrol their children and youth in sport, recreation and cultural activities. It provides eligible individuals with a benefit of up to $150 annually per child, for children under the age of 18. If a child is eligible for the disability tax credit, the active families benefit amount is up to $200 annually. The Active Families Benefit is an income tested tax credit in which families must have an income of $60,000 or less to claim the benefit. Ministries of Finance and Parks, Culture and Sport, Office of Disability Issues
Child Health Clinics Nutrition assessments, developmental screens and growth monitoring are done at two, four, six, 12, 18 months and four years of age at Child Health Clinics by Public Health Nurses. Maternal Mental Health screens are also conducted at the clinics at two months and six months. The MMH screen can be done anytime there is a concern. If concerns are noted through the screens and assessments, the infant/family is referred to the appropriate health care provider for further assessment. Public health nurses may provide further follow-up in the home as needed. Ministry of Health, Saskatchewan Health Authority, Indigenous Services Canada and Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority
Childhood Immunization This voluntary program educates parents and the public about the safety and importance of immunization, along with increasing access for families to services such as offering clinics after hours and on weekends, in public venues, school based immunization programs and holding drop-in immunization clinics for children and families to be immunized. Ministry of Health, Saskatchewan Health Authority, Indigenous Services Canada and Northern Intertribal Health Authority
Children and Youth Programming – Saskatchewan Provincial Parks Hosts children and youth through education and youth programs. Each program, including overnight camping, is free to every participant to connect youth to nature. Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport
Community Initiatives Fund (CIF) CIF makes effective investments in community-based projects and programs that contribute to the healthy growth and development of children and youth, individual and community well-being, as well as developing leadership capacity throughout the province. Community Initiatives Fund, Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation and Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport
Saskatchewan Lotteries Funding Program These programs initiate and sustain the participation of children and youth in new or existing arts, sports, cultural and recreational activities that advance their life skills, enhance their sense of belonging, and foster pride in their accomplishments and leadership skills. Over 12,000 sport, culture, recreation and community organizations benefit through grant funding or other programs and services. Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport, Sport Canada, Sask Sport, SaskCulture, Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association (SPRA)
Dental Public Health Services Dental public health programming includes health promotion, education, prevention services and in some areas, treatment services. Ministry of Health, Saskatchewan Health Authority and the Athabasca Health Authority
Hearing Aid Program Provides children’s hearing tests and also have children’s hearing aids available for purchase. Ministry of Health, Saskatchewan Health Authority
Northern Saskatchewan Food Security The client funded program is responsive to the needs identified by communities. It increases residents’ (including children) access to healthy and affordable food. Justice ministries, Ministry of Health, Sandy Bay: Breaking Trails Early Years Family Resource Centre via KidsFIRST NORTH, Meadow Lake Tribal Council

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