Children's Developmental Services (CDS)

About Children's Developmental Services

Children's Developmental Services (CDS) is a program funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
and administered by The Children's Aid Society of the20230606_121655 District of Thunder Bay.

The purpose of CDS is to provide case management, support and advocacy to families of children/youth  with special needs. Services and supports are provided, on a temporary basis, to families with a child/youth that requires assistance with daily living activities due to having one or more developmental and/or physical disabilities, inclusive of children/youth who are medically fragile and dependent on technology. Those with behavioural, emotional or other mental health related needs are included only if they meet certain criteria. Service agreements are drawn up to specify the agreed upon services as well as duration and ongoing  review of needs.

CDS promotes family functioning as well as child and youth health to avert or delay crises and to reduce the need for longer term out of home placements.

How can Children's Developmental Services help me?

CDS plays a significant role in supporting caregivers by connecting them with community services. CDS Workers work collaboratively with community partners and assist families with following through on recommendations and agreed upon goals.

CDS Workers can assist families with tasks such as filling out applications, attending appointments with families, transitioning a youth to adult services, taking families grocery shopping, attending school conferences, completing respite schedules and accompanying paperwork, making referrals, following up on specialist recommendations, assisting with various transportation needs, signing letters of support and coordinating and supporting caregivers at medical appointments.

CDS Workers are passionate and committed to the families they work with. CDS Workers aim to look after caregivers' needs so the caregivers are better able to attend to the needs of their child/youth. CDS Workers follow up with caregivers to ensure that essential needs are being met and provide them with informal support that is not provided elsewhere in the community. 

Community partners can contact CDS when crisis situations arise and CDS is able to help support families through these difficult times. CDS supports families with very high needs and responds to families in crisis on a consistent basis.

CDS can provide families with financial support to cover various items of need. Examples include alarm systems for safety reasons, pull ups/diapers for school age children, humidifiers, activity equipment costs that require tailoring to specific needs, frequent changing of bedding due to soiling, specialized clothing, transportation as public transportation is not always appropriate for special needs children and youth, and medical equipment not covered by other programs. 

CDS plays a role in helping families break down barriers and find creative ways for services to be delivered. Barriers may include cost of services/assessments, time, limited or no access to transportation and emotions that hinder being able to navigate community supports.

CDS works with families to build natural respite services using the families existing supports. Respite can be in or out of home and provided at times that meet the caregiver's needs. Families can also use funding to support family directed respite to hire people from within their own network to provide them with respite. Helping with the cost of activities is another way that CDS can provide respite to caregivers.

Am I eligible for Children's Developmental Services? 

If you answer yes to one or more or the questions below you may be eligible for CDS. 

  • Does your child/youth have a confirmed diagnosis of developmental and/or physical disability and/or presents with significantly high and multiple needs?
  • Is your child/youth medically fragile, technology dependent or require 24-hour support?
  • Is there a risk of family breakdown?
  • Is your child/youth at risk of harm to self, others or property as a result of the their high needs?
  • Is your family isolated or have difficulty accessing resources? Are there multiple children/youth in your immediate family with special needs?

How do I apply? 

To apply or to get more information about CDS please   contact:

The Children's Aid Society of the District of Thunder Bay
1110 Jade Court Thunder Bay ON P7B 6M7
Phone: (807) 343-6100 Toll-Free: 1-800-465-3905