When you arrive in Durham Region, one of the first things you’ll want to do is get your children settled. This will involve enrolling your children in school, helping them settle in class, and making sure they are kept healthy and safe.

If you are a teenager, there are services and help available to you. This includes settling in school, sexual health, identity questions and conflicts, and confidential help centres that you can call.

Child care

There are different types of child care available in the region, including licensed and non-licensed. Learn more about child care and early learning options, and how to find quality child care.

Prenatal to 2 years old

If you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant after you arrive, see information on pregnancy and babies and toddlers.

If you are planning for pregnancy, the Region’s website has information including:

  • Questions and answers.
  • Health and immunization information.
  • How you can protect yourself and your baby from infection.

If you have a baby, learn more about:

Children 3 to 5 years old

The Region of Durham’s website has lots of information on the health, safety and wellness of children.

In Canada, a child begins school at 4 years of age. There are different school boards you can choose from including public, private and Catholic. There is also a settlement workers in schools program to help your child get settled in school. 

Recreation and keeping active is important for children. Find family friendly activities and sports and recreation.

Children 6 to 12 years old

Get information on health in schools and resources for school-age children. There’s also important information you should know on child immunizations and vaccines.

There is a settlement workers in schools program to help your child get settled in school.

Your child can get a free library card and learn to use the library system. This helps children with school and learning. Library locations have different programs and classes available. See what is available for your child’s learning level and interests.

Recreation and keeping active is important for children of all ages. Find family friendly activities and  sports and recreation activities.

Youth 13 to 18 years old (teenagers)

Youth aged 13 to 18 are teenagers. Teenagers attend secondary school (often called high school). Students in Ontario secondary schools must complete a minimum or 40 hours of community involvement activities. This helps students get job experience and also shows how they can help their community.

For newcomers, there is a settlement workers in schools program. Teenagers can also get a free library card and learn to use the library system to help with learning and school assignments.

It’s important for teenagers to stay safe, healthy and active. See what sports and recreation are available for teenagers in the region. 

There are also sexual health clinics available for information and testing. 

If you are questioning your sexuality, gender or sexual identity, check out the LGBTQ+ community for information and support. You can also call the Durham Prideline at 1-855-877-7433. The Prideline is open every day from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. If you are in crisis and calling outside of Prideline hours, you can contact the Distress Centre Durham’s 24-hour Helpline at 905-430-2522 or 1-800-452-0688.

Being a teenager can be sometimes be hard. There are people and organizations who can help. Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) is a free, anonymous and confidential service for youth. You can call them 24-hours a day if you need someone to talk to.

School for Children

You can enroll your child in one of many Durham region school systems.

If your child is between the ages of 6 and 18, they are required by law to attend a school. You can also enroll children aged 4 to 5 in kindergarten.

Students are enrolled in the elementary school system by birth date. Secondary school students (children aged 14 to 18) are placed in courses appropriate to their learning level.

Learn more about School for Children: Schools for Children - Durham Immigration

Special needs

If your child is differently abled or needs special educational considerations, your child may qualify for special education. You can also find information on mental health for children of all ages.

Transportation options, driving and car seats

There are car seat safety laws for when you are travelling with your child. Learn this safety information before travelling with your child.

Be sure your child knows how to stay safe when travelling alone, visit our transportation page for safety tips.

Children ages 16 and up can learn how to drive by applying for an Ontario Driver’s Licence.

Child abuse

Canada has very strict laws regarding the treatment of children. It is against the law to abuse any child. The Child and Family Services Act defines and explains child abuse. In the region, the Durham Children’s Aid Society investigates claims or suspicions of child abuse. The consequences of which can be very severe for the abusers, including parents and guardians of children. 

If you know or suspect a child is being abused or needs protection, make a report to Durham Children’s Aid. All Children’s Aid networks have 24-hour emergency reporting.

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