Community social pediatrics is a clinical approach designed to establish a complete medical diagnosis that takes into account a child’s particular circumstances and their impact on his/her development throughout the course of his/her life. This diagnosis is re-examined and modified throughout the child’s lifecourse trajectory, based on a common reading shared by everyone involved (child, extended family and institutional partners). It is the basis for providing support and adapting services to best meet the child’s specific needs. These services are provided by community social pediatrics centres and their partners, with direct involvement of the child’s community.

The philosophy underpinning the community social pediatrics model

The community social pediatrics model is based on certain principles that guide its approach and actions.

Community social pediatrics professionals use an approach based on neuroscience research studies showing that affectionate, loving, caring, reassuring and predictable relationships are key to the brain’s optimal development, as well as to a child’s health and general well-being. Thus, their work involves forming or re-establishing nurturing relationships involving the child. This is achieved by conveying trust, respect, non-judgement, empathy, solidarity and loyalty.

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Listen to Adèle Diamond on the basics of the child’s optimal well-being.

Community social pediatrics professionals believe in the notion of empowerment based on fairness. They recognize children’s and families’ skills and strengths, and foster equal relationships and individuals’ power over their own lives. The cornerstone of the community social pediatrics model includes a method, a clinical approach and a working model, which seek to empower the child and family.

Community social pediatrics professionals contribute to compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. They seek to ensure that the entire range of children’s rights are respected, including the right to live in a healthy environment surrounded by family and loved ones. For this reason, they first seek to alter the children’s immediate environment by reducing or eliminating sources of toxic stress in their surroundings.

Community social pediatrics professionals are convinced that the best guarantee for children’s success in life, is to experience success in school right from the start. For this reason, they do everything possible to promote learning, which is often compromised by the difficult living conditions children face in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.