Programs & Services
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Programs & Services

A. BTC Pregnancy Outreach Program

The BTC Pregnancy Outreach Program is a Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP) serving homeless, pregnant women with substance use problems. Through a street outreach model, the program provides information, resources, education and case management support. The BTC Pregnancy Outreach Program also offers the "BTC Satellite Group" at St. Joseph's Health Centre. Delivered in partnership with Women's Own Withdrawal Management Centre and the Toronto Centre for Substance Use in Pregnancy (TCUP), this is a combined prenatal/relapse prevention group, with facilitated access to prenatal medical care through the TCUP program.

B. Addictions

Relapse Prevention Group. This group is offered to women who are in the early stages of their recovery. Behavioural and cognitive-behavioural approaches are used to assist women to develop strategies to manage cravings and other pressures to use substances.

Life Skills. This group offers structured lessons that are developed specifically for women recovering from addiction. They provide an opportunity for women to learn problem solving behaviours or skills in order to be able to manage their lives more effectively while in recovery. Topics covered include: building trust, journaling to express feelings, building self-esteem, dealing with anger, creating supports, and examining partner relationships.

Recovery Group. This group assists women to identify and address the issues and feelings that emerge when their use of substances is no longer an option for them. Women who are eligible for this group are working to consolidate gains made in the earlier stages of their recovery by addressing the underlying issues related to their substance use in order to prevent a return to old behaviours

Individual Addiction Counselling. Addiction counselling is available on an individual basis for all women at BTC. Services offered on an individual basis include assessment, pre-treatment preparation, case management of addictions-related problems, and education and support on addictions-related issues. Many women benefit from a combination of individual and group support for their recovery.

The Connections Program addresses the impact of domestic violence on child development, parenting and substance use recovery.

C. Parenting

New Mom's Support Group. This group is devoted to pre- and post-natal education and support. The group is delivered jointly by Toronto Public Health and Mothercraft. The focus of the group includes preparation for childbirth and parenting, and involves discussion of issues such as prenatal nutrition, breastfeeding, and prenatal attachment. Mothers may attend the group until their infant is 6 months of age. Topics such as breastfeeding, sleeping and feeding issues, infant development and stimulation, and bonding and attachment are discussed.

Nobody's Perfect Parenting Program. This program is facilitated by a nurse from Toronto Public Health and a BTC counsellor. This parenting program is group-based and is directed to families with children from birth to 5 years of age who have one or more of the following characteristics: young, single, low-income, or poorly educated, and socially, culturally or geographically isolated.

Cooking Healthy Together. The purpose of this program, offered by Toronto Public Health, and co-facilitated by a BTC counsellor, is to increase knowledge regarding the nutritional needs of children, women and pregnant women living with a fixed and limited income. Women also gain skills in meal preparation, which increases their self-esteem and sense of self-efficacy. Since meals prepared in this communal cooking environment are shared and taken home by the women who have participated, this program also offers a nutritional supplement.

Parent-Child Mother Goose Program. This is a preventative program designed to assist parents to gain skills and confidence that enable them to create new and positive family patterns during their children's early years. This group for mothers and their babies and young children focuses on the pleasure and power of using rhymes, songs and stories together. The group is delivered by BTC Child Development Counsellors.

Hanen "You Make the Difference" Group. This is a communication-based prevention program, aimed at helping parents establish the kinds of interactions with their children that foster self-esteem, the desire to explore and learn, and language development. It makes extensive use of video technology as a powerful teaching tool. This group is co-facilitated by a BTC Parent-Child Counsellor and a therapist with the Mothercraft Parent-Infant Program.

Mothercraft "Learning Through Play" Group. The goal of this facilitated parent-child play group is to support and expand on children's existing skills using didactic approaches combined with opportunities for parents and children to experience play-based activities in a facilitated and supportive environment.

Access Visits. In some situations, access visits for mothers whose children are in foster cae may be held at BTC. Mothers and children receive the support of BTC staff and services during their access visits in order to facilitate preparation and planning for the smooth and positive transition of the child from foster care to the mother's care.

Make the Connection Group is an interactive parenting program that promotes secure attachment, two-way communication and infant-led learning.

D. Developmental Clinic

Developmental/psychological screening and assessment. The development of all children at BTC is monitored beginning in the intake phase, and at annual intervals thereafter. Mothers are involved in the assessment process, and they participate in creating a development plan which incorporates the results of the screen/assessment as well as their own observations of their children. The developmental plan forms the basis for interventions for the child, and these are jointly implemented by BTC staff and mothers. Additional resources (e.g. speech and language services, occupational therapy, and physiotherapy) are made available to the child and family based on assessed developmental needs. The developmental screening and assessments of children at BTC are conducted by a team that includes a registered clinical psychologist, registered psychological associate and a psychometrist, all of whom bring expertise in the field of infant mental health and children's mental health.

Parent-Child Counselling. Parent-child counselling is delivered in centre-based and home-based sessions involving the mother and child. Various dyadic interventions are used including developmental guidance, interaction guidance using videotape, and parent-infant psychotherapy. The goal of this work is to enhance the stability and security of the attachment relationship between the mother and child by increasing the awareness of factors (past and present) that influence her parenting, as well as by increasing her understanding of her child's developmental and social-emotional needs.

Home Visitation. Home visitation is offered to complement the centre-based activities in which the mother and child participate, and as a vehicle to deliver parent-child counselling services. Home visiting is offered to all BTC participants and is delivered by Mothercraft's Parent-Infant Therapists.

E. Child Care

Parent Relief-Child Care. BTC operates a licensed child care for children of mothers who are attending appointments, groups or other activities at BTC, or in the community. Children are cared for by early childhood educators who provide a nurturing, stimulating and structured play environment. Individual developmental planning is implemented for each child based on his/her assessed strengths and vulnerabilities.

F. FASD Diagnostic Clinic

FASD Diagnostic Clinic. BTC benefits from the service of a developmental pediatrician who holds a bi-weekly clinic on site. The paediatrician sees all of the children and takes a detailed prenatal exposure history. The children are seen in the clinic every six months for follow-up related to their prenatal substance exposure, or more frequently based on either the assessment of the physician or questions and concerns of the mother. FASD assessments and paediatric follow-up occur for all BTC children who have confirmed prenatal alcohol exposure. When appropriate, additional referrals are made for further assessments and/or diagnoses. Information and education are provided to the mother regarding the effects of her prenatal substance use, and any questions regarding breastfeeding and substance use are addressed.

G. Health/Medical Services

Medical Services. BTC works closely with the Toronto Centre for Substance Use in Pregnancy (TCUP) in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at St. Joseph 's Health Centre. Women who require general medical care, prenatal health care, a medically-managed withdrawal, and/or a methadone maintenance program are referred if they desire. The medical services provided are responsive, respectful, and consistent with BTC's philosophy of care.

H. Mental Health Services

Individual Trauma Counselling. Women at BTC have access to support from a mental health clinician who provides on-site individual counselling (primarily related to family of origin and trauma-related issues) as well as referral for mental health assessments and more intensive mental health services as required.

I. Basic Needs Support

Breakfast and Lunch program. With the support of the Second Harvest food recovery program, BTC offers a daily breakfast and lunch to participants as a nutritional supplement. The lunch program meets a basic need for food and also relieves some financial stress for families on very limited incomes.

Clothing Exchange. Through clothing donations, a supply of children's and adult clothing is maintained and made available to participants.

Transportation. TTC tickets are provided to participants to travel to and from BTC.

For more information about Breaking the Cycle please call 416-364-7373 or e-mail