The Safehaven Project for Community Living
Our Impact Why We Exist
At Safehaven, we believe every child is special and that every child matters. Safehaven is dedicated to providing care for medically fragile children from newborn to eighteen years. They may be living with cerebral palsy, or may have a genetic or neurological/seizure disorder, a visual or hearing impairment, or are unable to eat orally. Our children respond positively in their own special way to our many programs and services that offer mental, physical and sensory stimulation and social interaction.
We are a Home Away From Home
We believe that one of the foundation blocks to maximize the potential of a child is in the space and place that serves as home. We create a ‘home away from home’ for our children to ensure that they have the best opportunities for personal growth and development to the full extent of their capabilities.
At Safehaven, we provide care that is warm, welcoming and non-institutional. All Safehaven homes are nestled into residential communities across the GTA so that our services are closer to the families who need our services, serving over 130+ families each year.
Our residential care program provides year-round, full time, 24/7 round-the-clock care.
Our respite care program gives a family who cares for their child at home some much-needed time to recharge and reconnect for a day, a weekend or a week.
Our Family-Centered Model of Care
Our philosophy is to support the entire family. Families are an integral part of Safehaven, and we encourage family members to take an active part in their child’s care and livelihood. By providing our residential families with “a key to the house”, we include the entire family in every aspect of the child’s life: in activities such as planning, attending school, participation in recreation and leisure activities.
Our Story What We Do
Parents struggle to find the best solution for their special-needs child
Over 25 years ago, families who had disabled children were forced to place their children in institutions if they could not provide adequate care at home. These institutions were few and far between and were often out of their community. When Safehaven was created in 1990, it was with the belief that there had to be a better way – for both families and their children.
Families today still face difficult challenges, emotional stress, financial stress and parenting responsibilities that can be overwhelming. Some children also come from single parent households where it is even more difficult and costly to provide the needed round-the-clock care at home. Safehaven gives families the support they need for their special-needs children.
Since 1990, Safehaven has proven that children with multiple disabilities and complex medical needs can thrive in a home as part of their community.
Helping children and youth with multiple disabilities and complex medical needs enjoy a high quality of life in a safe, loving and nurturing family-centered environment.
Our Mission – Children are at home at Safehaven
Safehaven’s mission is to provide children and youth with multiple disabilities and complex medical needs residential or respite care in a family environment with a caring community.
With a mandate to provide a safe and caring place for children with multiple disabilities and complex medical needs, the first residential homes were opened in 1990. We are proud to now care for children at these 5 GTA locations:
- North York – near the Don Valley Parkway and York Mills Road
- Aurora – near Bathurst and Aurora Heights Drive
- Etobicoke – near Royal York Rd and Bloor St.
- Woodbridge/Vaughan – near Hwy 407 and Hwy 400
- Central Toronto – on Bloor St near Dufferin
- Our Bloor Street location offers temporary respite and also serves as our head office location
With locations across the GTA we are able to provide care closer to families who need our services. Safehaven helps over 130+ families each year.
Our Programs How We Do It
Our residential care program provides year-round, full time, 24/7 round-the-clock care. Children are supported in state-of-the-art residences with trained and motivated staff and receive care tailored to suit their specific needs medically, physically and emotionally. Most children go to school during the day, and all children take part in recreation activities.
Activities include music therapy, pet therapy, Snoezelen multi-sensory exploration, arts, crafts, readings, outings to local attractions, summer time pool outings and more. Our activities are designed to help stimulate all senses to improve mobilization, alertness, attention, concentration, communication skills and mental relaxation. Children are given the opportunity to take part in community and recreational activities so that they can develop to the best of their abilities physically, mentally, intellectually as well as socially and emotionally.
Essential to our model of care is also the belief that children supported by Safehaven should have the same experiences as able-bodied children. Kids should be kids, regardless of abilities.
We currently have four (4) residential homes:
In the Toronto Region:
- Aurora (5 beds)
- Etobicoke (5 beds)
- North York (5 beds)
In the Central/Central East Region (serving the municipalities of York, Durham, Simcoe, Northumberland, Peterborough, City of Kawartha Lakes & Haliburton:
- Woodbridge 6 beds
Respite care at Safehaven provides family and guardians, who provide 24/7 care for their child at home, some much-needed time to recharge and reconnect for a day, a weekend or a week while knowing their child is safe, well cared for and enjoying their time away.
If possible, these children can also go to school during the day, and all children take part in the same recreation activities as the residential children.
We provide respite as follows:
In the Toronto Region:
- Bloor / Dufferin Respite Facility (10 beds)
- Etobicoke & North York locations when there is a residential vacancy
In the Central / Central East Region (serving the municipalities of York, Durham, Simcoe, Northumberland, Peterborough, City of Kawartha Lakes & Haliburton:
- Woodbridge location when there is a residential vacancy
- Aurora location when there is a residential vacancy
What You Can Do
Safehaven welcomes volunteers. Volunteers can help us in so many ways to support and interact with our children in our residences, and also to bring our children into the community and provide them with new experiences.. Volunteers help accompany children on nearby outings to a baseball game, museum, the local park, our summertime pool and much more. Volunteers can help in our residences, bake cookies or do crafts wiht the kids, help out in our administrative office, and participate at our events.
We are very proud of our many exceptional volunteers and invite you to join them. Volunteers are the backbone to any community, but are especially important to Safehaven. Be a special person and sign up to volunteer with us. Give us your time and you will enjoy an immensely rewarding experience.