Sweet Dreams Creating Better Futures For Families
Today, Social Services Minister Paul Merriman joined families, community members and investors in Saskatoon to celebrate the success of Canada’s first Social Impact Bond – Sweet Dreams – which provides an alternative to children coming into care of the ministry.
The program provides a supported living environment for at-risk mothers, and has served 36 women and their families since it opened in June 2014. Fifty-four of the 55 children involved in Sweet Dreams remain out of care of the ministry and are safely with their families. This is more than twice the initial target of preventing 22 children from entering the child welfare system.
“As with many programs delivered by EGADZ, Sweet Dreams has become an important initiative that helps strengthen families and communities,” Merriman said. “Saskatchewan is fortunate to have business and community leaders like Colleen and Wally Mah, as well as Eric Dillon from Conexus Credit Union, who look for opportunities to give back to their communities. I’d like to thank them for investing in such a promising endeavour.”
The Government of Saskatchewan has committed to $120,000 in ongoing annual funding for Sweet Dreams, based on the success of this Social Impact Bond.
“EGADZ is proud to be involved in the ongoing investment with our mothers and their children,” EGADZ Executive Director Don Meikle said. “Investing now will pay huge dividends for families and children long into the future.”
Sweet Dreams is a collaborative initiative involving the ministries of Social Services and Education. The Ministry of Education funds the Early Learning and Child Care Centre.
Some mothers in the program have received early learning and child care training, and many have begun working at the Sweet Dreams Early Learning Centre.
“My recovery wouldn’t have been possible without Sweet Dreams and the support system it has to offer,” Sweet Dreams participant Jade Okemaysim said. “All that and a safe place to live, it was exactly where I knew I would have the best chance after finishing my inpatient treatment. I tell everyone I know struggling like I was, that EGADZ has programs they need if they are wanting and willing to do the work.”
EGADZ is a nationally and internationally recognized social innovator, and recently won Saskatchewan’s first Governor General’s Award for Innovation. They offer several programs and services to Saskatoon’s children, youth and their families to improve their quality of life, including street outreach, housing, education and employment support and parenting programming.