You would like to get involved in a social pediatrics centre as a professional or a volunteer, or you are thinking about setting up a centre in your community? You will find all the relevant information here.
CSPCs are warm, inviting and approachable places supported by families and the community. The child and significant people in his or her life are welcomed by teams made up of qualified professionals and many community volunteers who work closely with an impressive network of partners and collaborators.
CSPCs open the door to holistic health care for children at risk. The child, family and significant people in his or her life are welcomed by a doctor and social worker for an assessment/course of action meeting. Together, they come up with an overall picture of the child’s primary developmental needs and his or her living environment. They then agree to an action plan aimed at allaying the child’s main health problems caused by difficult living conditions. The child begins to receive a range of services and attend activities provided by the CSPC or its partners, in line with the action plan. The same process is used to reassess the child throughout his or her lifecourse trajectory.
Set up in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, CSPCs are grounded in the community. The relaxed atmosphere makes it easier to build trusting relationships with children at risk and their families, and to partner with the community to run activities that meet children’s needs and interests. In this way, the CSPC becomes a safe place for the child and family, a place where care and comfort are provided so they can rebuild their strength and develop their resilience.
CSPCs stand out from other organizations in the health and social services network due to:
- Their role in resilience tutoring or as a protective factor, helping “children at risk of parental neglect to develop their full potential and to bounce back despite the hardships and difficult circumstances they face” (Marcoux, 2010).
- The systematic and ongoing support provided to families who are referred to external resources (Marcoux, 2010).
- The focus on being available for families as they work their way toward the goals that were set during the clinical assessments (Marcoux, 2010).
- Access to diagnostic and holistic health services for children from disadvantaged neighbourhoods (GRAVE report).
- A mix of services provided under one roof: medical, specialized, psychosocial and legal support, which is key to a holistic health approach able to address a range of children’s and families’ needs (GRAVE report).
- Their multidisciplinary and relationship-based approach, which means that children and families who face compound psychosocial and physical disadvantages can receive appropriate services (GRAVE report)).
Given that community social pediatrics is an integrated social medicine model, the CSPC’s basic team comprises:
- A doctor (pediatrician or family physician).
- A clinical assistant who has training in social work, psychoeducation or nursing.
- Close links with the legal sector, including mediation.
Depending on the needs of the children and families being followed, professionals from other fields join the team. These include: mediators, special educators, art therapists, music therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, neuropsychologists and child psychiatrists.
Many community volunteers committed to the cause are also part of the team. Volunteers are involved in numerous activities, ranging from administration and mentoring, to leading sports or art activities, and play a key role in fulfilling each CSPC’s mission.
Start by asking yourself several questions.
- Do you know who makes up your community?
Social pediatrics is meant for high-risk children. Is that the case for children living in your community? Several indicators can help you get an accurate picture of the situation. Among other things, you can consult the Québec Survey of Child Development in Kindergarten 2012 to see deprivation rates provided by schools, or the socio-demographic information compiled by your region’s health and social services centre (CSSS).
- Are you familiar with your community’s characteristics?
Every community has specific attributes, such as the quality of housing and the physical environment, safety, ease of access to health care, food sources and social services, the presence of community support networks, etc. You need to understand these elements in order to determine your community’s needs and ascertain whether setting up a CSPC is appropriate or not.
- Do you know what resources are available in your community?
CSPCs offer complementary services to those which already exist in the community. Furthermore, CSPC teams work in partnership with other community resources (schools, health and social services centres, youth protection, daycare services, community groups, legal aid). Familiarity with these resources and forging constructive, close links with them makes it much easier to set up a centre.
- Are you or do you know a clinician who is actively engaged in the community?
Ideally, CSPC professionals are committed clinicians rooted in their communities. They have a very good sense of the people they serve and are passionate about changing the difficult circumstances in which children live. They have already proven themselves with local residents, which helps them build trusting relationships with families. They can add their voices to others to defend children’s fundamental rights whenever needed, influence public policy and mobilize the community around issues involving children’s well-being. Setting up a CSPC is easier when professionals with this kind of profile are involved with the centre.
- Is there already a social pediatrics centre in your community or close by?
We suggest you refer to our map to see whether a centre exists. If so, please contact us.