News & Events

Celebrating a Decade of Impact: Reflecting on the Evolution of KW Habilitation’s Early Learning, Child Care and Family Resources Program

In early January, KW Habilitation commemorated a remarkable milestone.  Our Early Learning, Child Care and Family Resources (ELCCFR) program celebrated 10 years!  Not only was that a call for celebration but also for reflection on the journey that has shaped this transformative initiative.   


From its humble beginnings in 2014, to its current state as a beacon of support for families all across the Region of Waterloo attending licensed child care programs, the vision of the ELCCFR program has remained the same:  “Together with families and community partners, Early Learning, Child Care and Family Resources at KW Habilitation works to help children and youth in Waterloo Region thrive in licensed child care programs.” 


Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen significant growth and evolution, driven by a dedicated team committed to making a difference in the lives of children in our community. Initially known as Preschool Outreach, the program started January 6, 2014 and operated discreetly, with just a handful of Resource Consultants and essential support staff. 


The program’s early days saw a team of 21 Resource Consultants, along with supervisors, managers, and administrative support, working together to provide services to families who have children with any special need attending licensed child care. With a focus on enhancing staffing levels in Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) settings, the program underwent a pivotal transition in September 2016, moving towards a purchase of service model. This strategic shift empowered ELCCs to directly hire their staff, while the program provided essential funding support, streamlining operations and fostering greater efficiency.


As the Early Learning program grew, it reached several defining milestones that changed its path and made its vision stronger. The integration of the Special Needs Access Point (SNAP) program, previously housed at the Region of Waterloo, marked a significant turning point in the way we have been able to help children in child care settings.  This has streamlined referrals and enhanced accessibility for families in need. 


The implementation of our Vision to Practice document provided a guiding framework for the program’s initiatives, ensuring alignment with best practices and evolving needs. Collaborative partnerships with organizations such as KidsAbility and the integration of tiered service models further bolstered the program’s capacity to deliver tailored support to families, embracing a holistic approach to early childhood development.


As the Early Learning program celebrates its remarkable journey over the past decade, it does so with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to its mission. We’ve seen a growth from 21 Resource Consultants to a staff team of more than 40, a shift from supporting children aged 0-6 to 0-12, and we are consistently helping more than 1200 families every single year! Always trying and piloting new ideas, Early Learning’s ongoing efforts to innovate and adapt to the emerging needs of children and families in our community sets the program up well to continue its legacy of impact and service for years to come.


Together, they have transformed challenges into opportunities, paving the way for a brighter and more inclusive future, where all children in licensed child care programs have a strong sense of belonging.