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Prevention and early intervention services

SickKids  Centre for Community Mental Health (CCMH) provides accessible free programs for infants, children, youth, caregivers and community professionals that focus on enhancing children’s social skills and supporting their emotional needs. Programs are provided by our skilled, multilingual and diverse staff, with the assistance and support of our students and volunteers where appropriate.

Our prevention and early intervention programs:
  • are guided by current research;
  • build on participants’ strengths;
  • strengthen resiliency;
  • provide links to other community supports;
  • are developed and adapted based on feedback and evaluations;
  • benefit from strong partnerships

Prevention and early intervention programs

Prenatal to six years of age

  • Building Brighter Futures
  • Family Support Network
  • Growing Together
  • Healthy Babies Healthy Children
  • North York Prenatal Nutrition Program
  • EarlyON Child and Family Centre

Ages 5 to 18

Programs may include children’s groups, parent groups, parent-child groups, parenting and individual child support, home visiting community presentations, information resources and consultations to community caregivers.

Funding for our prevention and early intervention programs is provided by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, the City of Toronto Children's Services, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Toronto Public Health and the United Way of Toronto and York Regions.

To learn more about our prevention and early intervention services, call 416-924-1164, ext. 8710.

The following resources may also be of interest:

Why SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health (CCMH) provides prevention and early intervention services

Research indicates that several factors place children and families at risk for serious mental health problems. Many of these risk factors exist in communities served by CCMH, including:
  • a high rate of low birth weight babies;
  • a high incidence of socially isolated parents;
  • high rates of unemployment and underemployment;
  • high density housing;
  • a large proportion of single parent families; and
  • a high incidence of poverty.
Research also has shown that prevention and early intervention programs have both immediate and long-term benefits for children, their families, community caregivers, and the community. These benefits include:
  • improved cognitive, physical and social functioning in children;
  • less stress and less distress within the family and community settings;
  • improved parenting behaviours and skills;
  • fewer incidents of child abuse and neglect;
  • more success in school and fewer dropouts;
  • more prosocial attitudes and skills in later childhood and adolescence; and
  • less delinquency in adolescence.
In addition, research has shown that prevention and early intervention services are cost-effective:
  • for every dollar spent on prevention and early intervention in early childhood, seven dollars are saved in future social and health-care costs;
  • prevention and early intervention reduce short-term health-care costs for children;
  • prevention and early intervention reduce long-term health-care costs for both children and other family members.