Centre De Pédiatrie Sociale Laval asks community to lend a helping hand

Pediatrics centre sets ambitious $50,000 goal for Laval’s most vulnerable children

In time for the upcoming holiday season, the Centre De Pédiatrie Sociale Laval is launching its annual Guignolée, which will be held from Dec. 1-17 in the four corners of the city.

After a year’s break due to the Covid pandemic, the organization is back on the streets and in front of Laval businesses to raise awareness of social pediatrics in the community and to give Lavallois the opportunity to support it.

An essential role

The organization, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, played a more crucial role than ever with vulnerable children in Laval during the pandemic.

Indeed, say organizers, the prevention of child neglect and abuse is of paramount importance in this context of uncertainty. The report of the Laurent Commission, published last spring, emphasized the importance of funding front-line services to protect children.

The demand is overwhelming

However, the Centre De Pédiatrie Sociale has a waiting list of 56 families residing in some of the least privileged neighbourhoods of Laval. Some of these families have been on their own for almost a year and some of the children on the waiting list are in a very vulnerable situation. They are at risk of neglect, integration difficulties, developmental delays, food insecurity, anxiety and depressive disorders, as well as academic failure.

Unsuitable premises

The centre says that two of its three points of service have very limited capacity, which reduces the proper functioning of their activities. As a result, the team is currently looking for a new space that would be better suited to social pediatrics services, as well as funding for this purpose.

But with the real estate market on the rise, they say, it is currently impossible for the centre to invest in space without cutting professional resources dedicated to clinical services.

Space lacking, says director

“Our workers and doctors have the time and desire to take care of more toddlers, but the space to accommodate them is not adequate,” says Mylène Du Bois, executive-director of the centre. “As a result, the children are waiting impatiently for their turn, which, when the time comes, will give them access to a better future.”

“The need to expand our premises in order to be able to adequately meet the needs of the children is one of our most pressing issues,” adds Me Jean Marius Mottet, president of the centre’s board of directors. “Access to an adapted space would allow us to double the number of interventions on a weekly basis and thus ensure that we fully realize our mission.”

Chomedey a critical sector

According to the centre, Chomedey, the third most vulnerable neighbourhood in Quebec, is currently in an emergency situation. They say the Centre De Pédiatrie Sociale Laval would need to take action immediately in order to avoid potentially tragic incidents within families.

Unfortunately, the news of the last few months shows how much children are affected. As Régine Laurent, president of the Special Commission on the Rights of the Child and the Protection of Youth, said in a report released earlier this year: “We can no longer accept, in 2021, in a society that has the means to do so, that children do not have their most basic needs met.”

Many ways to support

The Centre De Pédiatrie Sociale Laval is asking the Laval community to help raise $50,000 to continue to provide clinical services to vulnerable children in Laval. Donations can be made online at cpslaval.org, or at street corners in the downtown area and at various partner businesses on Saturday Dec. 11.

“More than a third of our funding comes from private donors and 90 per cent of the donations collected go directly to the children through much needed services: social workers, psychoeducators, speech therapists, music therapists, etc. Together, let’s form a caring community that takes care of its children,” Du Bois says.

Here for Laval’s children

The centre de Pédiatrie Sociale Laval is a non-profit organization that provides activities and care to children in the community. The centre contributes to the overall development of children and adolescents with developmental, social or health problems in disadvantaged areas.

The centre also promotes the interests and rights of children and their families. Its mandate is to offer interdisciplinary health services to a vulnerable clientele that is at odds with the current service network, in a living environment integrated into the community.