Parent Charter: helping to make Hamilton the best place to raise a child


July 6, 2011 · Todays Family ·

Parent Charter: helping to make Hamilton the best place to raise a child

As part of Hamilton’s Best Start, we know that children deserve the best start in life and the chance to achieve their very best in school. Best Start will support families by offering a broad range of services for children 0-6 years of age that will ensure their children receive the best possible opportunities early in their lives. Neuroscience and human development studies show that experience-based brain development in the early years of life affects learning, behaviour and health throughout a person’s life (The Early Years Study, 1999). Best Start is the initiative that recognizes this research and puts theory into practice. It empowers communities to offer comprehensive, flexible, integrated and seamless services for all children and parents at familiar neighbourhood locations. The long-term nature of Best Start means that we will move beyond preparing children for early learning successes to preparing the next generation of adults to be full participants in their own communities.

As part of the Best Start initiative, Marni Flaherty is co-chairing the parent and family engagement committee.  Part of the work of the parent and family engagement committee has been the creation of a Parent Charter.

What is a Parent Charter?

A Parent Charter is an agreement that outlines a service provider’s commitment and parents’ expectations on parent engagement. The intent is for the charter to complement the mission/vision/values of the organization. It reflects what we strive to do daily for children and families in our community.

Why is a Parent Charter important?

The Parent Charter directly supports the vision of making Hamilton the best place to raise a child. Hamilton is leading the way as the first Canadian community to introduce a Parent Charter.

Parent Charter

As parents, you are involved in your children’s lives from the moment they are conceived. Parenting is a lifelong commitment. You should be offered support to help you as you raise your children.

The right to respect

You will be:

  • Treated fairly and equally
  • Treated with dignity
  • Treated without judgment or discrimination

The right to information

You will:

  • Be listened to
  • Be understood
  • Get a response to your concerns

The right to assistance

You will have timely access to:

  • Assistance
  • Services
  • Supports

The right to be involved

You have the right to:

  • Have an active role in all areas of your children’s lives
  • Participate in opportunities to make change

The right to safety and security

You can expect:

  • Privacy and confidentiality
  • Safe physical environments

The right to appeal

You have the right to:

  • Know the process for review
  • Ask for change to any decision that you have concerns about

These rights shall apply to all parents without discrimination according to race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, ability/disability, ethnic origin, region, economic status, religion, source of income or any other distinction. This Parent Charter does not replace the law.

 The Hamilton Parent Charter sets out shared principles and beliefs for service providers and reflects the voice of the community. It provides a strong foundation for the future of families, service providers and organizations that serve and/or employ parents in Hamilton.

Want to know more about the Parent Charter and Hamilton Best Start? Go to:


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