Monica Place officially opened in 1968 under the name Saint Monica House, sponsored by the Anglican Diocese of Huron. Monica Place is a licensed agency and receives funding from the Ministry of Child and Youth Services.
We enjoy a long and rich history of serving young pregnant women in need, and over two decades of service to young mothers and their children.
Saint Monica House was officially opened and dedicated on May 26, 1968. Its inception was a centennial service project in 1967, sponsored by the Anglican Diocese of Huron. The founding Board of Directors researched the need for services to unmarried mothers, selected the site on Herbert Street, in Waterloo, and proceeded to raise funds for the actual building.
We began operations in June 1968, as a twenty-six bed residence. At that time, the mandate was to provide residential care and support exclusively to single, young, expectant women. Typically, many young women came from out-of-town, gave birth, relinquished their children for adoption, and then returned to their homes.
In April 1970, an on-site school, supervised by the Waterloo County Board of Education, was established at Saint Monica House. This enabled the young women to continue their education during their stay. In 1974, services were expanded to offer a full day school program for the residents. This expansion formally introduced learning opportunities about parenting options, communication, decision-making, life-skills and stress/anger management. In September 1979, in response to a need, programs initially offered only to residents were extended to include non-residential, young expectant women living in the community.
By the mid 1980’s, the majority of young women were choosing to parent rather than place their infants for adoption. In response to this change and the identified need for ongoing parenting support, in January 1984 a support program was established for young mothers and their children, living on their own in the community. Although, there was a decline in adoption there still was a need to provide ongoing support to those young women who chose to adopt, therefore, a post-adoption counseling support group was established, not only available to those enrolled in our program, but also to community clients not previously involved with Saint Monica House.
In May 1992, the residential program was expanded to provide short-term accommodations for young mothers and their newborn infants. The Moms and Babes Program offered 24/7 support for moms and their newborns during the critical first eight weeks of bonding.
In September 1992, Saint Monica House officially opened Monica-Ainslie Place, a sixteen unit, two bed room, apartment housing complex and resource centre for young, single mothers and their babies in Cambridge. The construction of Monica-Ainslie Place and Monica Resource Centre enabled Saint Monica House to once again expand essential services to a high risk, single mother and her child. This longer term transitional housing made it possible for young mothers to live in a safe environment, while having access to on-site counseling and support services, while progressing toward fully independent living.
Maternity Homes have been a part of the social service delivery system since in the 1900’s and they represent a unique service to the community. There are several homes throughout Ontario which form the “Young Parent Resources of Ontario”, which Saint Monica House actively participates in as a member in this Association.
Saint Monica House began legislatively under the Province of Ontario Charitable Institutions Act. This arrangement was changed in 1979 to the Children’s Institutions Act, and again in 1985 to the Child and Family Services Act.
Today, Saint Monica House is licensed under the latter and is funded by the Ministry of Child and Youth Services, as well as by church sponsorships and private donations.
In 2012 Saint Monica House became a Trauma Informed Model of Service.
In 2013 Saint Monica House changed its working name to Monica Place for Pregnant and Parenting Youth, “Supporting Lives Two at a Time”