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SmartStart Hub Q&A for Families and Caregivers: Connecting with Child Development Services

Updated: May 31


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SmartStart Hubs Q&A for Families and Caregivers



What is a SmartStart Hub?


Ontario’s Children’s Treatment Centres and Surrey Place in Toronto are taking on a new service called SmartStart Hubs. As SmartStart Hubs, these agencies will be a clear point of entry to services for children and families. Each Hub will bring together local child development professionals, connecting families that have a concern about their child’s development with services, supports and resources.


Lansdowne Children's Centre is a SmartStart Hub serving the region of Brantford, Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk counties, Six Nations of the Grand River and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.



How does it work?


Anyone with a concern about whether their child is meeting developmental milestones can contact the SmartStart Hub to start the referral process. No diagnosis or doctor referral is required. You might call it a one-stop shop for connecting with services, supports and resources.


Lansdowne Children's Centre is a SmartStart Hub that will help you connect with local services, supports and resources for your child's development needs.



What will the SmartStart Hub do for my child? For my family?


Think of the SmartStart Hub as the front door to child development services. You’ll be warmly greeted, and you’ll have a conversation with an intake coordinator about your concerns, your child’s development and strengths, and any supports that might be needed.


Lansdowne Children's Centre provdies services, supports and programs for infants, children and youth with communication, developmental and/or physical special needs, and their families. Depending on what is recommended, the SmartStart Hub might also connect you with another provider in your area that can provide services.


You won’t need to tell your story again because the SmartStart Hubs works directly with partner agencies in your community.



If I already have a referral, do I use the SmartStartHub?


If you have a referral, you might not need the SmartStart Hub. It is primarily a place where families can go when they have questions about their child’s development and need a place to connect for advice and potentially for services.



How do I find the SmartStart Hub in my community?


Lansdowne Children's Centre is a SmartStart Hub and children's treatment centre with locations in Brantford, Caledonia, Dunnville and Simcoe, serving a cactchment area that includes Brantford, Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk counties, Six Nations of the Grand River and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.


If you are unsure whether Lansdowne is the nearest SmartStart Hub to your residence, or are looking for a children's treatment centre in your region, you can find your local Children’s Treatment Centre at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/childrens-rehabilitation-services#section-4



Is every child development provider a SmartStart Hub?


Twenty-two providers across the province serve as SmartStart Hubs. These providers offer service to every community in Ontario.



What kind of services can the SmartStart Hub organize for my child and my family?


SmartStart Hub will connect with you with local services, supports and resources. This can include, but may not be limited to:

  • Speech and language pathology

  • Occupational therapy

  • Physical therapy

  • Respite services

  • Autism services

  • Family support


How are SmartStart Hubs connected with other service providers?


Between Ontario’s Children’s Treatment Centres and Surrey Place, every community in the province has a SmartStart Hub. These providers bring together local professionals to ensure the range of child development services are connected. That means families have one place to go to access the range of services and supports that will help their child reach development goals. Families no longer need to make connections on their own — the SmartStart Hub can do this for them.



Does my child need a referral to go to a SmartStart Hub?


No referral or diagnosis is necessary. If you have concerns about your child’s development for any reason, you can go directly to the SmartStart Hub that serves your community.


You can also access the SmartStart Hub through another service provider in your community, your child’s doctor, your child care provider or your child’s school.



Does my child need a diagnosis to get service at a SmartStart Hub?


Your child does not need a diagnosis to access services through the SmartStart Hub.



Do SmartStart Hubs do more than meet our family and assess our child?


Yes, agencies that are SmartStart Hubs offer child development services. Lansdowne Children's Centre provides physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech language therapy, support workers, and child/youth workers, and access to our Medical Director at all of our locations.


In Brantford and Brant County, Lansdowne Children's Centre also offers Autism services, infant and child development program, early integration program, respite services and recreation programs.


If your child needs clinical services that aren’t offered by our SmartStart Hub, or your family can benefit from programs offered by other agencies, the SmartStart Hub team will connect you with partner agencies in your area for services.



What happens if my child needs services that the SmartStart Hub doesn’t offer?


The SmartStart Hub will connect you with a partner agency that can provide the services your child and family need. The SmartStart Hub is your door to a range of child development services.



What does it cost to use the services of a SmartStart Hub?


There is no cost. In Ontario children and youth up to age 19 and up to age 21 for youth in school can access a SmartStart Hub as well as all publicly funded child development services, for example servicesfor kids with physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, or communication disorders.



Do I have to go to a SmartStart Hub in person, or can we arrange for a virtual appointment?


Many SmartStart Hubs services, including exploratory conversations, may be accessible by phone, e-mail or video chat, for families who cannot easily visit in person. You can speak about your needs and/or preferences during your communication with the SmartStart Hub team.



Do I have to go to a SmartStart Hub to arrange services for my child?


Not at all. SmartStart Hubs are intended for families who aren’t sure where to go to access services, or what services they should receive. If you know your child’s support needs and where to go to access a particular service, you can contact that service provider directly.



What are the benefits of going to a SmartStart Hub?


The SmartStart Hub gives you and your family a clearpoint of entry to a wide range of children’s services. You’ll receive a warm welcome, and you will only need to discuss your concerns about your child’s development one time.


SmartStart Hub at Lansdowne Children's Centre will connect you to local professionals for child development services, supports and resources. SmartStart Hubs are a clearpoint of entry to Ontario’s child development services.



CLICK HERE to open SmartStart Hub at Lansdowne Children's Centre



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