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Referral Procedures

Niagara Children’s Centre accepts referrals from parents or legal guardians, physicians, school boards and community service providers (with parental consent).


General Eligibility

  • The child/youth is a resident of the Regional Municipality of Niagara
  • Programs/services are available from birth-age 21, dependent on the specific program
  • The child/youth must have a suspected or diagnosed physical, developmental and/or communication delay or disability

Program Specific Eligibility

  • The Centre offers a diverse range of programs and services. Eligibility can differ by program.
  • Please refer to our programs and services listing for program-specific eligibility criteria.

If you have questions about eligibility or referrals, please call our Intake Coordinators at (905) 688-1890 ext. 110. 

How to Make a Referral

Parents and Legal Guardians

Parents/legal guardians can make a self-referral for:
Parent/legal guardian referrals can be made by:
  • Calling Niagara Children’s Centre Intake Coordinators at (905) 688-1890, ext. 110.
  • For ages 0-4 speech-language pathology referral:
  • For SmartStart Hub referral:
  • Parents and legal guardians of children already involved with Centre services can ask their child’s therapist(s) about eligibility for/referrals to any of the Centre’s additional programs and services.

Physicians/Primary Care/Healthcare Providers

Physicians/Primary Care/Healthcare Providers are able to make referrals for most Centre programs/services (see Referral Form or Portal for list). Healthcare Providers refers to allied health professionals who work in hospitals/hospital-based clinics, Preschool Speech and Language Program or Children’s Treatment Centre staff, and HCCSS Care Coordinators.

Referrals can be made by:
  • Using the Niagara Children’s Centre/Smart Start Hub Physician/Primary Care/Healthcare Providers Referral Portal
  • Faxing a completed Niagara Children’s Centre/Smart Start Hub Physician/Primary Care/Healthcare Providers Referral Form to (905) 688-9181
Supporting Documents:
  • Niagara Children's Centre Birth to School Start (OT| PT | SLP) Referral Checklist

Local Community Partners

Registered Early Child Care Educators and Child Care Supervisors following Quality Child Care Niagara protocols can make referrals for speech-language assessment for children age 0-4* (*until August 31 of the year the child turns 4) by:

Designated local community partners can make referrals for the SmartStart Hub and/or core services of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language therapy for children age 0-4* (*until August 31 of the year the child turns 4). Designated local community partners refers to Contact Niagara, Health Babies Healthy Children, Infant and Child Development Services, Public Health Nurses, Resource Consultants, Pathstone, and Bethesda Children’s Services.

Community Partner referrals can be made by:

Supporting Documents for Designated Community Partners: 

EarlyON Resource Consultant Program

The Resource Consultant services through Niagara Children’s Centre are geared towards supporting families who meet the service criteria for specialized supports, in a preschool learning environment within EarlyON Centres. In partnership with EarlyON support personnel, our Resource Consultants will provide formal/informal assessments and work in conjunction with a child’s team of specialists at Niagara Children’s Centre (as appropriate) to create goals and offer strategies to optimize each child’s development all within an inclusive, play-based group program at the EarlyON sites.

Referrals can be made by EarlyON staff only.

EarlyON staff Referral Portal