Best Start in Ontario Hubs

What is a hub?

The Hub is the neighbourhood venue for delivering an integrated system of services for early learning and care and healthy child development. Hubs are intended to increase access to program resources for children and their families.



The "Schools First" policy is to create hubs in schools, ideally with child care on site. If child care isn't on site, there should be strong links to nearby child care providers. If a school is not possible as a hub site, we should consider the best alternative, a location where some of the core services are already being delivered.



Key features of hubs:

  • Clearly identifiable location and/or phone number
  • Simplified easy access for parents
  • Explicit mechanisms for service integration


The core services that should be available at hubs: 

  • Junior and senior kindergarten
  • Quality child care
  • Preschool programs (e.g. speech and language/literacy)
  • Screening assessment, and referrals to specialized services
  • Public health services (e.g. well baby clinics, immunization, HBHC)
  • Healthy child development programs, parenting programs, nutrition programs
  • Information about community services and pathways to them


Parent engagement means not only involving parents in service planning and the development of hubs, but strengthening their parenting skills and role in healthy child development. 



Best Start is a ten-year strategy with several phases.

Hub development vs. hub coordination

Hub development: support working groups by assisting with tasks that facilitate the hubs ability to expand and succeed independently. This is done by:

 

  • initiating connections in the community;
  • recruiting community partners in targeted areas;
  • identifying individuals willing to lead hub coordination in their neighbourhood and supporting the development of their role;
  • developing a communication plan that links hubs and planning tables (creating tools, documents and templates; maintaining ottawakids.ca website);
  • supporting focus groups (creating surveys or documents; presenting results);
  • increasing awareness of services and emerging initiatives (presenting data, resources and reports);
  • assisting with some administrative tasks; 
  • reporting progress to planning table.

Hub coordination: facilitate, organize and oversee the collaboration and integration of services by community partners into a common and cohesive plan for the hub location. This is done by:

 

  •  acting as liaison between the partners and the hub (being the key contact person for questions, concerns and comments);
  • ensuring the delivery of services provided by overseeing the program planning (creating program calendars, taking registration for programs located in hub, booking service providers, drawing up MOU’s when necessary);
  • providing support to community partners (orienting service providers, providing information or documents relevant to program set up and delivery);
  • evaluating program success, monitoring quality of services and maintaining statistics for hub (creating documents to register, sign in and evaluate programs/services; compiling results to be presented to planning table).