Centre for Children Development receives $15,779 to support virtual therapy program amidst COVID-19

We have provided a $15,779 Emergency Community Support Fund grant to The Centre for Children Development. This grant is supporting virtual therapies for over 3,000 children with special needs that receive services at The Centre. The funding received from the Emergency Community Support Fund is being used to purchase equipment, data, and programs for families and staff to fill technological gaps.

(Virtual therapy image provided by The Centre For Children Development)

The Centre for Children Development’s mission is to help children with special needs reach their potential. For over 65 years The Centre for Child Development has been providing services to children from the ages of 0-19 with complex and severe developmental disabilities. The medical rehabilitation staff includes developmental paediatricians, psychologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, equipment team, eating skills and communication team, and recreation team. Serving over 3000 children a year, we believe a child's family is part of the therapy team and key to early intervention. The Centre for Children Development provides families with support and training to help their children learn and grow.

Many of the children served at The Centre for Children Development are medically fragile with compromised immune systems, and with the outbreak of COVID-19 are at heightened risk. The Centre’s goal is to safely continue providing therapeutic treatments, ensuring children are able to maintain their progress. Virtual therapy enables staff to visually see rehabilitative progress and offer corrective feedback.

Virtual therapy is also critical to keeping children, families, and their therapists connected. Many children with special needs that are at high risk are mentally suffering (more than the average person) due to being in prolonged isolation. Virtual therapy helps combat this issue by providing them the opportunity to have face-to-face connections. Children often receive therapy at The Centre for many years, building family-like relationships with their therapists. The support, guidance, and encouragement of The Centre’s staff help build resilience, which is even more critical given the additional challenges faced by these families during the pandemic.

“A large portion of the families we serve are single-income households and cannot afford the equipment or data costs. Children with special needs are a vulnerable population and Surrey has the largest number of children with special needs in British Columbia. So, it is crucial to ensure children do not fall behind in their physical and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to their compromised immune systems, these children will be in prolonged isolation and virtual therapy will ensure that no child gets left behind,” explained Judy Mann, Vice President of Business Development, The Centre for Children Development.


“The Centre needs to continue providing therapy in a virtual format for a long time, even after vaccines roll out,” said Judith Reaugh, Vice President of Communications and Governance, The Centre of Children Development. “We have to be incredibly cautious and take our time before going back to normalcy, as the children we serve are at extremely high risk. Therefore, donations for the virtual therapy program are greatly appreciated as funding is still very critical to keep the virtual format accessible to all of our children and families.”

This grant is made possible through the Government of Canada's $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund, which saw over $900,000 allocated to SurreyCares in its first round and now, over $575,000 in the second round.

“Children with special needs are at incredibly high risk amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore require the appropriate technology to receive treatments that improve their physical and mental health during this isolating time. SurreyCares Community Foundation is grateful to be able to support The Centre for Children Development, as this project will aid the continuation of their essential services during the pandemic,” said Christine Buttkus, Executive Director of SurreyCares Community Foundation.


The Emergency Community Support Fund is being delivered through a national partnership with Community Foundations of Canada, United Way Centraide Canada and the Canadian Red Cross.


Individuals and businesses who wish to support Surrey charities are asked to give to the Surrey Community Relief Fund. In partnership with the Surrey Now-Leader, Surrey Board of Trade and The Saheli Foundation, the goal is to raise $500,000 to support the most vulnerable populations in Surrey.

To learn more about the Centre for Children Development and to donate to support their virtual therapy program, visit their website: https://the-centre.org/

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