Our History

Elgin Children’s Network was first established as the Elgin Advisory Committee for Youth Families (EACYF) in June 2005.  The Committee’s primary focus was to provide advice and recommendations on program implementation and service delivery for several provincially funded programs: Family Education Support Program Aylmer (FESPA), Healthy Babies Healthy Children (HBHC) and the Ontario Early Years Centre (OEYC).
A St. Thomas-Elgin, London-Middlesex and Oxford Regional Best Start Executive Committee was established in June 2005 in response to the introduction of the provincial government’s Best Start initiative.  Local Best Start Implementation Committees were created in each of the three communities to guide local planning activities related to Phase 1 of Best Start.  As Phase 2 planning activities began in early 2007, St. Thomas-Elgin Ontario Works, with the support of the Community Council for Children and Youth Elgin, approached EACYF to provide input into the 2007-08 Best Start Community Plan.  Not only was the Advisory Committee agreeable to performing this function but it also agreed to assume an ongoing planning role in the implementation of Best Start – a role that included reviewing its Terms of Reference and expanding its membership.  The Committee changed its name to the Elgin Children’s Network (ECN) in October 2009 to better reflect its broadened mandate.  

This action was in keeping with the November 2006 direction of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, as stated in its Addendum to the Implementation Planning Guidelines for Best Start Networks, that “the long term vision is to reduce the number of planning bodies and there is a potential for Best Start Networks to evolve into the role of the system planning body for children.”