History

Entrance of Aisling Discoveries

Aisling Discoveries Child and Family Centre was created on June 30, 1998 with the joining of Discoveries Child and Family Centre and Aisling Centre for Children and Families. The joining of these two agencies brought together a rich history of dedicated service to children and families.

Sacred Heart Children’s Village was founded in 1851 by the Sisters of St. Joseph, as an orphanage for immigrant children whose families were fleeing the famines in Ireland. Over the years the focus changed from custodial care to therapeutic services for children who had social, emotional and behavioural problems. In 1989, after nearly one hundred and forty years of service, the Sisters of St. Joseph divested their child and family intervention services to the newly formed Aisling Centre for Children and Families.

The word "aisling" means vision or dream in Irish Gaelic. The name was chosen because of the meaning of the word "aisling" and now we define it as hope of a brighter future for the children who receive our help.

The Powell-Brown Nursery School opened its doors in 1965 to offer treatment to twelve preschool children. The founder, Mrs. Thelma Powell-Brown, was a pioneering kindergarten teacher from Jamaica who recognized the need for a specialized program for young children with social, emotional, behavioural and developmental problems. The Powell-Brown Nursery School relocated twice in 26 years, coinciding with a name change each time. In December 1991 the Centre changed its name from Preschool Discoveries to Discoveries Child and Family Centre.

The new agency formed in 1998 became Aisling Discoveries Child and Family Centre to ensure that clients and other stakeholders would be able to readily identify the continuity of service from both former agencies. The larger, integrated agency is able to speak with a louder voice on behalf of the children and families that we serve and attract more resources to maintain and enhance services.

Building on its strength as an agency that offered children’s mental health and early intervention and community support services, in 2002 Aisling Discoveries Child and Family Centre launched its first autism service. The Centre now provides both intensive behaviour intervention and ABA services for children and youth with autism spectrum disorder.

Over 4,000 children, youth and their families are served each year through our intervention and treatment services. Another 5,000 individuals are served each year through our community support programs held in schools, early years centres, homeless shelters and other community locations.