Based in Ajax, Ont., Resources for Exceptional Children and Youth – Durham Region helps families in Durham Region find the resources and services they need for their children with special needs. A team of up to 50 staff provides a continuum of services including Early Learning Inclusion, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Coordinated Service Planning, Intensive Service Coordination, Urgent Response Services, and mental health supports. Through all contacts, RFECY promotes a philosophy of inclusion of all children.
Advancing an inclusive community for children and youth with exceptional needs and their families.
Inclusion: We believe that every child/youth has the right to participate fully in their home and community.
Individuality: We value the uniqueness of each child, youth, and family.
Family: We respect the family as being the primary support and decision maker for their child/youth.
Accountability: We commit to provide a collaborative and flexible service that is responsive and accountable to the child, youth, family, and community.
Since its founding in 1987, Resources for Exceptional Children and Youth – Durham Region has sought to help families of children with special needs to navigate the often complex range of services and treatments from agencies in the Regional Municipality of Durham and beyond.
The starting point is often a contact from a community member or family, handled by an Access Coordinator. Access services can include a brief consultation or a single contact. If needed, linkage to other RFECY services is completed.
RFECY’s driving force is to achieve the best possible accessibility and coordination of services so that families receive the services they need. Collaboration is critical to RFECY’s work, both in the provision of service to families as well as working with community partners to improve system planning so that families have a better experience.
The team of skilled staff supports families and the community. Early Learning Inclusion Consultants work with local childcare programs to support programming, training, and strategies for inclusion of all children. The related Enhanced Staffing program funds additional staffing for early learning programs to support the inclusion of children with high needs.
The Coordinated Service Planning team supports families of children with multiple and/or complex needs with a focus on navigating service options. Intensive Service Coordinators work to find creative solutions when the complexity of needs requires support beyond what is being offered by the local service system.
Among other initiatives, staff also support services for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, the Talking About Mental Illness (TAMI) Durham program and, most recently, Urgent Response Services under the Ontario Autism Program.
RFECY has never stood still as an organization. Having begun as a resource to promote inclusion of pre-school children with special needs, the agency expanded to support older children and youth in 2002, mental health initiatives in 2005, service coordination in 2016, and Urgent Response Services for autism in 2022.
Funding comes from the Regional Municipality of Durham, the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and the Ontario Ministry of Health. Oversight is provided by a Board of Directors composed of parent and community representatives.
RFECY staff bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to their positions within the agency. Educational backgrounds for staff include Registered Early Childhood Educators, Social Workers, Developmental Service Workers, Educators, and bachelor’s degrees in a variety of disciplines. In addition to their educational backgrounds, staff bring a diversity of professional experiences to their work at RFECY.
RFECY fosters relationships and partnerships with organizations that share its vision and commitment to supporting children and youth with special needs through service planning, service delivery, and system planning. Partners include Grandview Kids, Lake Ridge Community Support Services, local school boards, mental health agencies, health agencies, child welfare organizations, Durham’s Best Start Network, and Durham Children and Youth Planning Network.