Individual Counselling, Advocacy, and Support

Each woman using Jessie's services has a counsellor who is available to her for personal counselling, information and advocacy.

  • Birth control methods
  • Abuse in relationships
  • Family Issues
  • Mental health issues
  • Substance abuse
  • Accessing and navigating systems

Getting Started

If you are pregnant or have a child and are 18 years old or younger, you are eligible to receive our services. Please call to make an intake appointment. Services are free, and confidential.

What is an intake?

An intake is a face-to-face appointment with a trained Counsellor at Jessie's Centre, who will provide information about our services and programs and will give you a tour of our centre. The Counsellor will also ask you some questions to find out about your unique needs. The intake appointment is also an opportunity for you to discuss your thoughts and feelings around your pregnancy and or parenting.

Referrals to Internal services and external services

Internal Services

  • Labour support
  • Housing
  • On-site high school
  • Well-baby clinic
  • Parenting groups
  • Prenatal programs- photos, belly casting, etc
  • Parent relief

External referrals

  • Social Assistance (Ontario Works)
  • Health Care (mental health, substance abuse, midwife, doctor)
  • Abortion clinics
  • Public Health services
  • Legal Council (legal clinic, court support worker, lawyer)
  • Residential Care programs
  • Shelters
  • Daycare
  • Employment programs

Assistance in Completing Necessary Documents

We also provide support with applications and documentation. These may include Statement of Live Birth Birth Certificate Child Tax Benefit, Income Tax, Day Care Application, Custody & Support documents.

Practical Support

Jessie's Centre has lots of practical support available that you may find very useful and may not yet know you'll need during the time of your pregnancy.

Our Swap Shop is stocked with baby clothes and equipment, clothes for mothers including maternity clothes and many household items you may need in your kitchen. The clothing room that we call the Swap Shop is open every afternoon.

The best part: Everything is free. It is all donated to Jessie's Centre. You can come and take what you need for yourself and your baby.

We are pleased to help you with transportation costs as well. Every participant at Jessie's Centre gets two TTC tokens when you leave so that it doesn't cost you anything to go home and to come back next time.

We have lunch available each day (Monday through Thursday) at 12:30 for everyone who is at Jessie's Centre. There is a Supper Club on Monday nights and dinner available for people attending our Tuesday evening groups.

Accompaniment to Appointments

In times where you might need friendly, support during your appointments, we have capable and willing staff to join you. Such appointments can include:

  • Abortion
  • Social assistance
  • Legal, court, immigration
  • Housing search
  • Childcare subsidy

Housing Program

Jessie's Centre can guide young mothers and families through their housing needs.

Housing services include:

  • Searching rental listings for appropriate units; contacting landlords to arrange viewings and interviews; accompaniment to viewings and interviews
  • Filling out applications for subsidized and specialized priority housing in Toronto and other regions in Ontario
  • Education on tenant rights and responsibilities as well as housing and human rights
  • Advocacy and support when facing housing discrimination
  • Conflict resolution with landlord; eviction prevention
  • Help getting repairs and maintenance done
  • Accompaniment to Landlord and Tenant Board in the event that landlord/tenant dispute results in court proceedings
  • Referral to other community agencies as needed (for example: Legal Aid Clinics, Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation, Federation of Metro Tenants Associations)

Jessie's Centre Non-Profit Homes

  • 16 units of permanent rent-geared-to-income family housing (2 and 3 bedrooms)
  • Housing for young mothers and their children and partners
  • Community development and individualized supports offered to tenants

Respite Care - YPNFA (Young Parents with No Fixed Address)

We recognize that parenting is a challenging and sometimes stressful responsibility. This is true especially for young people who may lack family support and alternate child care options. In response to this, Jessie's Centre offers a Respite Care Program designed to offer a break for young parents under 25 from the responsibilities of caring for their infants and toddlers.

Our Respite Care Program offers:

  • 24 hour-a-day care for the children of young parents in homes supervised by the Respite pProgram Coordinator by care providers who are thoroughly screened and trained to offer quality child care in their homes
  • Most placements are three to five days; however, we can occasionally place a child for up to three weeks in an emergency situation
  • Childcare for young parents while they pursue housing or seek medical care

Health Program

Jessie's Centre has a full time Health Counsellor who can help mothers develop realistic expectations of their child's development, track their infant's growth and assess when their child needs to see their primary physician. Birth control option counseling and pregnancy tests, STI counselling as well as Choice counseling are also available.

There are many different health programs offered at Jessie's such as:

  • Prenatal classes are available to participants and their support persons to learn about labour, birth and postpartum care.
  • Breastfeeding support drop-in provides support, counseling and referrals for breastfeeding mothers.
  • Labour Support Volunteer program for prenatal mothers. This trained Labour Support Volunteers provide support, comfort and advocacy for young mothers during labour and birth.
  • Our Health Counsellor assist you in finding a health care provider (doctor or midwife) for you or your baby if you don't have one
  • Prenatal Nutrition group (FF2).

Well Woman and Well Baby Clinic

A family Doctor from St. Michaels Hospital, Inner City Health Association (ICHA) or a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner from the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) are available to discuss health concerns and preventative health strategies for children and adolescents. A member of the “Young Families Program” from the Division of Adolescent Medicine (Hospital for Sick Children) will be at Jessie's each month to offer clinical assessment, support, education or referrals for health concerns for infants, toddlers, children and adolescents. Pediatricians who are also specialists in adolescent health are part of the multidisciplinary team and are available through referral to SickKids or at Jessie's Centre.

Well Woman and Well Baby Program details:

  • Wednesday afternoon clinic for mom, babies and prenatal
  • Drop ins, no appointment necessary
  • Track your child's growth and development and consult regarding feeding issues and routines
  • Prenatal visits
  • Birth control consult and prescriptions available
  • $10 food voucher to moms with babies under 6 month old for each visit

Labour Support Program

Trained and experienced Labour Support Volunteers at Jessie's Centre help pregnant, young women work towards a more positive birth experience. They aim to collaborate with you, your family and friends to create a strong sense of support during labour. Meeting with you and the people you have selected to be part of the birth before labour, this team is here to answer your questions, discuss your concerns and help you make choices by nurturing a trusting relationship with you.

Labour Support Volunteers are available to:

  • Accompany you to prenatal classes, doctor's or midwife's appointments and hospital tours
  • Be with you throughout your labour, help you get to hospital, support your decisions by helping you advocate for yourself and offer you emotional support and physical comfort
  • Help with initiating breast-feeding, after birth

Just ask to speak to the Health Counsellor at Jessie's Centre. They will match you with a support team member who's right for you.

Parent-Child Centre

Parenting Education takes place through structured and unstructured activities at Jessie’s Centre. Regular groups are offered focused on specific ages and stages of infant and toddler development.

The space is an essential part of Jessie's that offers family support, parenting skills, mentoring and childcare for our participants accessing our services and programs.

Parent Child Counsellors are available to provide counseling, support and guidance to young parents and prenatal young women.

Parents take part in a variety of programs and activities such as music circle, mom and child playtime, crafts and sensory activities, gross motor play and special events.

School Program

The Centre has an on-site high school program that is funded by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Children and Youth Services. The young women are able to earn compulsory and elective secondary school credits from grades 9 to 12 in a full day semester program that is supportive of parenting. Individualized programs of study allow the students to work independently in different courses and at various course levels to meet their needs and future goals. Our school program prepares the students for re-integration into community schools, alternative schools and post secondary education.

Our school provides:

  • 12 seat school, 4 seats for prenatal women, and 8 seats for mother (while their babies are in our nursery)
  • An educational bridge to balance scholastic, emotional, and social needs of young women during the pre and post natal period, in a full day semester after a period of absence from school
  • Individual programs of study revised to accommodate varying levels of concentration, self-discipline, learning difficulties and well-being to meet the student's needs and future goals
  • The opportunity to receive secondary school credits from grades 9 to 12
  • Life Skills program
  • Preparation for re-integration into community schools, alternative schools and post secondary education

Community Education Program (CEP)

The purpose of the Community Education Program is to educate high school students and to increase the awareness and sensitivity of professionals who work with young women and young parents. We do so in the following ways:

  • Provide insight into the lives and the challenges experienced by young families through pregnancy and parenting, creating awareness of the services offered by Jessie's Centre
  • Educate youth on the importance of contraceptives and STI prevention
  • Challenge and reduce stereotypes surrounding young parents
  • Support informed decision making about personal choices surrounding pregnancy options
  • Encourage peer-to-peer support and education regarding the issues that impact young families
  • Promote opportunities for leadership amongst speakers'
  • Support Jessie's Centre fundraising initiatives and the annual United Way campaign

Food Program

Jessie's food program aims to serve a variety of foods that will give options and promote healthier choices.

  • Meals are served buffet style
  • Lunch is served every day
  • Dinner is served on Monday and Tuesday
  • Provides breakfast items in the morning, and snacks for groups during the week