Beginnings Family Services
How it all started
In the early 1980s, a group of social workers and theologians gathered to discuss the lack of resources available for expectant mothers. As Christians, they felt called to provide more compassionate services for those in need, while ensuring this was done in accordance with professional and legislative guidelines. Their vision was child-centered, beginning with how to best help pregnant women, and then widening to include fathers, extended families, and then those wanting to grow their families through adoption.
Beginnings was founded and incorporated with charitable status in 1984 and granted a license from the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services to include counselling, fostering, and private adoption services under the Child and Family Services Act. By the early 90’s, Beginnings had expanded pregnancy counselling, and locally supported care services in three communities — Woodstock, Guelph and Cobourg (Northumberland). With the vision of our founders, and the dedication of the many volunteers, staff members and supporters over the years, Beginnings mission has been to support and counsel expectant parents in crisis and to provide services to those hoping to grow their families.
In 2009, we changed our name from Beginnings Counselling and Adoption Services of Ontario (Inc.) to Beginnings Family Services to reflect the growth and dimension of the work we do. Family is at the centre of our work, supporting lasting connections and helping families thrive is the foundation of our services and programs.
In 2010, Beginnings started the only open Embryo Donor/Recipient Program of its kind in Canada, offering people successful in IVF the opportunity to donate their remaining embryos to those struggling with infertility and hoping to become parents.
With a rise in need for ongoing support and counselling services for expectant families in crisis, we have added more counselling and social work staff and built additional services and programs. The need for foster care has also increased in response to calls and referrals directly from hospitals. Our foster families provide a nurturing environment for newborns and family visits while important decisions and planning is happening. We have more than doubled our foster homes across Ontario.
While change is inevitable, it is not always easy. Beginnings began with the dream of four people who stepped out in faith, with love and hope in their hearts. Because of this, Beginnings has become the busiest adoption agency in Ontario and is able to support expectant parents and adoptive families across the province. Our Embryo Donor/Recipient Program continues to expand each year and is recognized nation-wide. We have grown in ways we could not have imagined but the goal has remained the same, to offer hope and demonstrate compassion to families in need.
For over 30 years, Beginnings Care Centres have been a safe haven for families to receive supplies of clothing, diapers and formula, as well as resources for pregnancy, parenting support and community referrals. Our centres worked hard to meet the changing needs of clients while facing many obstacles along the way. With the growth of our professional services, Beginnings looked towards our adoption and embryo donor/recipient programs to be our primary focus.
In 2019 the decision was made to transition our work at the Northumberland Care Centre to existing agencies in the community. In 2021, the Guelph Care Centre closed and clients were also connected to services already existing in that region.
Our Woodstock Care Centre continues to provide services to expectant parents and families and is working towards becoming an independent organization. We are pleased to work alongside one another in the spirit of serving expectant parents and families in need and look forward to all that is store for the Woodstock Centre moving forward.
Beginnings will continue to offer free services and support for expectant parents across Ontario and make every effort to direct clients to local services in the community to ensure ongoing support. For those who have supported our centres, from staff to volunteers, to churches, and organizations, the difference you have made is immeasurable and we are truly grateful.