Child Development Centres
To provide specially designed, equipped and maintained facilities for special needs children to receive physical and occupational therapy in the Fraser Valley and Dawson Creek areas.
To assist children and their families to access rehabilitation and education therapy through programs in physical and occupational therapy, speech pathology, infant development and family support services.
In 1986 a group of parents from the Chilliwack, Abbotsford area asked the BC Lions Society for Children with Disabilities for support to fund the design and construction of a child development centre in their community. At this time they had been renting space in a local building and prior to that had been taking special needs children to Surrey or Vancouver for therapy. The parents wanted more therapy time for their children and needed to avoid the extensive traveling costs.
The Society became interested and through planning it was determined that over 400 children in the Fraser Valley needed rehabilitation and occupational therapy services. In 1990 a suitable site was found, and architects and contractors hired. The Fraser Valley Child Development Centre opened in October 1992.
The Centre now serves 800 special needs children ages newborn to 19 years. Children are referred to the Centre by physicians, teachers, parents or hospitals and therapy is provided at no cost to the family.
The Fraser Valley Child Development Centre staff and operations are funded 80% by government ministries and 20% by direct donation to the Centre. The BC Lions Society for Children with Disabilities provided the property, buildings, services and physical plant. The BC Lions Society for Children with Disabilities funded the Child Development Centre exclusively from revenues received through donations and fund raising at an annual expense of over $400,000 in the past.
In 1988 a second Child Development Centre in Dawson Creek for special needs children in the Peace River Region was supported by the Society. The BC Lions Society committed to assist with building maintenance and improvements. The demand for therapy continued to grow and the facility needed improvements. The Society funded a major reconstruction program at a cost of $800,000 over four years. Over 200 special needs children receive therapy from ages toddler to 19 years.