Families and dignitaries gathered on Thursday to celebrate the success of Sweet Dreams in Saskatoon.
The initiative provides a supported living environment for at-risk mothers and their children at a home located at 600 Queen Street. It has served 36 women and their families since opening in 2014.
“My recovery wouldn’t have been possible without Sweet Dreams and the support system it has to offer,” Sweet Dreams participant Jade Okemaysim said in a statement.
“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.”
Sweet Dreams provides an alternative to children coming into care of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Social Services, according to provincial government officials.
Fifty-four of the 55 children involved in Sweet Dreams remain out of the child welfare system, which officials said is more than twice the initial target.
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Sweet Dreams opened as a result of Canada’s first social impact bond, according to government officials.
A social impact bond is a funding model that uses private capital to provide a social program. Together, along with private investors, project partners set out specific goals and then agree to pay those investors a pre-arranged sum if the project goes on to accomplish the stated goal.
The government has committed to $120,000 in ongoing annual funding for Sweet Dreams, based on this model.
“EGADZ is proud to be involved in the ongoing investment with our mothers and their children,” EGADZ executive director Don Meikle said in a press release.
“Investing now will pay huge dividends for families and children long into the future.”
The service provider for the initiative is EGADZ. The non-profit organization offers several programs and services to Saskatoon families, including street outreach, housing, education and employment support.