85th Anniversary - ArchivesMay 2019

From the archives: Child Psychiatry: 50 years of caring for children and their families

After years of planning, the Child Psychiatry Program was launched at the JGH in 1967 to provide children with the same kind of compassionate treatment and care that adults had been receiving in the hospital since the mid-1950s.

The Centre for Child Development and Mental Health in the Ruth and Saul Kaplan Pavilion

The Centre for Child Development and Mental Health in the Ruth and Saul Kaplan Pavilion

Launched, with Dr. Ronald Feldman as its inaugural Director, the program was located on the fourth floor of the hospital’s new northeast wing. It made history by establishing the first children’s in-patient psychiatric unit in a Canadian general hospital.

Of crucial importance was the Centre’s unique approach—a treatment strategy that involves not just the child, but a collaboration among parents, teachers, therapists, nurses and allied health professionals—which is the pioneering hallmark of Child Psychiatry at the JGH.

The risk is that some children may find the Centre’s environment so reassuring that they might be reluctant to move on. This is why it’s so important for the Centre’s 56 children—half under the age of 7, the rest between 8 and 12—to return to their regular schools for one day a week. For this to happen, close contact between the Centre’s staff and the children’s teachers is essential.

Today the Program is based in the specially designed facilities of the Ruth and Saul Kaplan Pavilion, which were opened in 2010. Its team approach is a direct descendent of the philosophy—both revolutionary and evolutionary—that was the foundation of the original Child Psychiatry Program when it was launched.

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The Jewish General Hospital’s 85th anniversary is an ideal occasion to take a glimpse into the past. By remembering the extraordinary efforts of the hospital’s founders, supporters, staff and volunteers, we honour the enduring legacy that of the JGH.

Look for a new scrapbook item every week during 2019 in JGH News.

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