Family Facility

Family Facility
Photo: Courtesy - Patrick Sicotte

In an effort to reach more families in need, Verdun has converted a floor of a municipal building into a Centre for Child and Family Services (CPSC). Dr. Suzanne Pelletier, moving with the Petits Renards, a non-profit organization helping at-risk children, will be the resident doctor and the first new tenant of the floor. As part of Verdun’s Strategic Development Plan, this new centre will nurture a positive environment for the general development and success of all the children in the community.

The CPSC is inspired by the philosophy and approach developed by Dr. Gilles Julien in the field of social pediatrics and helping children whose development is compromised or at risk. Based on a team approach, it involves multiple professionals working together focusing special attention on reducing the impact of harmful stress on children through difficult living conditions.

The new centre, located on LaSalle Blvd., was chosen as it is within an area with a high percentage of disadvantaged primary schools. Sud-Ouest-Verdun has the unfortunate record of school dropouts on the Island of Montreal. « Our mission will be to help children in crisis, facing family difficulties or needing temporary or longer term help, » says Dr. Pelletier.

With its child first philosophy, the social pediatric centre operates in concert with existing health and psychosocial support services for at risk or vulnerable children and families.

Fitting in

As a neighbor, the CPE les Trottinettes, that also caters to the less fortunate, welcomes the Petits Renards centre to the building. The shared facility will aid families and attempt to help the young ones and older kids with school readiness.

Working in unison, the new generations of students will benefit from the added support.

« Les Petits Renards will be the cornerstone of this community hub fostering children’s development. In fact, this project is perfectly in line with Ville de Montréal’s Policy on Children, which encourages the creation of environments favourable to overall development and to the success of all the youngsters in our community, » announced Mayor Jean-François Parenteau.

Support and growth

As there are additional rooms on the floor, space is available to other organizations that offer cognitive, affective, physical and social services to children at risk. They will also be charged with taking into account the parent’s needs, situations and health.

The Lester B. Pearson Schoolboard will be a key partner and will monitor the situation, as they have plans to open a similar centre for Anglophones in Verdun Elementary and would also serve Beurling Academy and Riverview Elementary School.

« We can then say just go right up the stairs, and we have a pediatric nurse or doctor or social workers or legal aid which you can refer to, » said David Meloche, regional director with the Lester B. Pearson board. If all goes well, including funding, the centre could be in service by 2019.

The Petits Renards and the future Anglophone centre will work in close cooperation and share their expertise in services devoted to families and children.