June 10, 2004
For immediate release


Toronto - St. Stephen's Community House proudly announced the grand opening of its Newcomer Family Centre at 486 Shaw Street with Citizenship and Immigration Minister Dr. Marie Bountrogianni.

St. Stephen's Newcomer Family Centre brings together a full range of settlement services for new immigrant families including English classes, child minding, family-oriented settlement counselling, an early childhood educator to help children with their adjustment; a resource centre and perinatal drop-in for expectant and new mothers. "Helping newcomers to adjust to life in Canada has been at the heart of St. Stephen's mission since we were founded in 1962," says St. Stephen's Executive Director, Liane Regendanz.

The grand opening also premiered Heartbreaking Decision, a documentary video about parent/child separation in Chinese newcomer families. This has become a serious issue among families in the Chinese community. They are pressured to send away their infants to live with relatives in China as they struggle with employment barriers, substandard housing conditions and a lack of affordable child care. Shirley Cheng, one of the mothers featured in the video, explains: "I couldn't let him suffer like this. No matter how hard life is, I can survive it myself. When my life improves, then my child will come back to live with me." Over half of Chinese women in perinatal programs across Toronto face this heartbreaking decision. Our goal is to help newcomer families cope with separation, and deal with the challenges of reunification.

St. Stephen's Community House has been creating opportunities and strengthening communities in Kensington and surrounding neighbourhoods for over 40 years by helping newcomers to Canada, families with young children, youth at-risk, homeless men and women, job seekers, people and organizations in conflict, isolated and frail seniors, and expectant mothers.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
St. Stephen's Community House • Denise Au
Tel: ext. 238
Web: https://ststephenshouse.com.

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