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Get Involved

Consistent with our commitment to family-centred care, Niagara Children’s Centre is proud to offer our Family Partnership Program!

Family Partners are family members of children receiving our services who are partnering with the Centre to make a difference in the lives of children and families.

There are several types of Family Partner positions:

  • Family Advisors provide input and recommendations from the family perspective to improve Centre services and child & family experiences
  • Support Parents provide mentorship, support and information/resource sharing to other families of children who have special/identified needs within Family-Family Support programs
  • Volunteer Family Mentors provide mentorship, support and information/resource sharing to a parent/primary caregiver that they have been specifically matched with on a 1-1 basis

Family members do not need any special qualifications to be a Family Partner. Lived experience is all that is required. The Centre’s Family Engagement Facilitator will help match interested family members to the position that best matches their interests, skills, experiences and availability and provide any needed orientation, training, and support for Family Partners to succeed in their position.

Family Advisors Overview

Niagara Children’s Centre is committed to engaging families to help improve the quality of Centre services and the family experience related to our services. We want to engage families in our improvement efforts because we recognize that families offer knowledge, perspectives, and insights that no one else can provide.
We are always recruiting Family Advisors who:

  • Are family members of a child (or children) currently using any Centre services or who have recently been discharged (within the past year)
  • Are interested in providing input and recommendations from the family perspective to improve services and experiences
  • Can help to ensure that Centre services, materials, and initiatives are family-centred and reflect the needs and preferences of families

Become a Family Advisor

There are many advisor roles to suit individual needs, interests, and availability.
Family Advisory Network

  • 12-20 family members working together with a small group of Centre staff
  • Family members will both ADVISE staff and PARTNER with staff on a wide range of topics related to child and family experiences, programs, services, strategic directions, initiatives, educational materials, policies, and procedures
  • As a group, family members will have the opportunity to select and LEAD projects and initiatives that align with the Centre’s goal of enhancing family-centred care
  • Time Commitment: 2 hour meetings, once per month from Sept-June.

Advisor on a Centre Committee:

  • Partner with a group of Centre staff on a standing committee (a committee that continues year to year)
  • Time Commitment: 2 hour meetings, once per month Sept- June. Reading of distributed materials prior to each meeting (1 hour).

Advisor on a Project Team

  • Partner with Centre staff on short term projects or improvement initiatives (e.g. redesigning therapy spaces, improving our referral process for new families, planning for our annual Parent Conference)
  • Time Commitment: Varies dependent on the project. Some projects may take a few meetings, others may take many months. Every effort will be made to accurately estimate the length of a project before an advisor commits to joining

Virtual Advisor

  • Provide input and recommendations from the comfort of home
  • Virtual Advisors will be sent surveys and/or asked to review and provide feedback on written materials electronically (policies, newsletters, website content, educational materials etc.)
  • Time Commitment: Extremely flexible. Surveys and/or written materials will be sent periodically over email. Each request will indicate a deadline for completion (not less than 1 week). Virtual Advisors will not be obligated to respond to each request.

Focus Group Advisor

  • In-person focus or virtual groups will be organized periodically to enable small or large groups of family members to share feedback and ideas on a specific topic/issue
  • Time Commitment: Focus groups can take place in the daytime or evening at Niagara Children’s Centre and will typically be 1-2 hours in length.

Become a Volunteer Family Mentor

The Family Mentor Program matches trained Volunteer Family Mentors with Centre parents and caregivers who would benefit from additional guidance and peer support. Parents and caregivers are matched with a mentor who will best meet their individual needs.

The goal of the program is to empower and strengthen parent and caregiver capacity to care for their child(ren) by providing them with additional resources and information on Centre services, events, and education/support opportunities. Evidence-based research shows that peer support reduces feelings of isolation and anxiety, and builds skills and confidence in parents with children who have multiple special needs.

Time Commitment: Flexible and dependent on both the needs of the parent who is seeking support as well as the availability of the Volunteer Family Mentor. Mentors can decline to be matched if the timing is not right to do so at the time of a new request.

Become a Support Parent

Support Parents are parents or primary caregivers of a child with a physical, developmental, and/or communicative delay or disability who partner with Centre staff to co-lead Family-Family Support Programs, including the Online Parent/Primary Caregiver Support Group and the Parent Talk Support Group.

How to Become a Family Advisor, Family Mentor or Support Parent

To apply for a Family Advisor role please fill out this form. The Family Engagement Facilitator will contact you to arrange an interview.

If you are interested in becoming a Volunteer Family Mentor or Support Parent, please email familyengagement@niagarachildrenscentre.com to express interest and find out if there are current openings.

If you require more information, please email familyengagement@niagarachildrenscentre.com.

Submit to our Shining Star program

Niagara Children’s Centre is embracing a future focused on strengths and interests, rather than challenges and deficits. The Shining Star campaign, inspired by Can Child’s F-Words for Child Development framework, invites parents and caregivers of the Children's Centre to share life’s everyday moments with their children, whether it’s in school, at home, around their community or in one of our therapy sessions. By celebrating these experiences, we can open up a broader discussion about child development, embrace inclusion and reimagine how disabilities are viewed in our communities. Together, we can focus on a future of fun, function, family, fitness and friends!

Click here to learn more about the program, our consent process and how you can participate.