Eligibility and Referral

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTFROM Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre. As of May 28th, 2021 the Centre will cease to operate and we will no longer be offering our services. WE ARE NOT ACCEPTING ANY NEW REFERRALS. Effective immediately we are only serving our current active clients. Questions can be directed to info@griefcentre.org . Please be patient as there may be delays in replying.

Announcement  |  Frequently Asked Questions

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Program Goals

The Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre provides group, family and individual support to children, youth and families (0-21) who are living with the dying or death of a sibling, parent or custodial caregiver, or who are living with terminal illness themselves. We help to build the capacity of individuals, families and communities to find ways to communicate and support one another in grief, as well as to maintain connections with loved ones who have died.

Program Philosophy and Approach

As leaders in the field of children’s grief and palliative care, the Centre’s innovative programming recognizes that the impacts of living with terminal illness and grief are unique to each individual within a family. From referral, through intake and assessment to service provision, we integrate psychoeducation and support to ensure there is a continuity of care for clients that is responsive to the strengths, needs and relationships in each family. The Centre’s group-based and counselling programs employ a mix of creative, play-based and arts-based approaches. This model encourages the need for honest, open communication for the children involved and supports family members in further developing coping and communication skills to grieve and remember, together.


Referrals for services through the Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre are voluntary, meaning the youth (aged 12 years and older) and their family agree to participate. Referrals are accepted from any source where direct consent has been provided from the family. *Families are encouraged to self-refer when possible.

  • Family Relationship: Services offered to support grief related to dying or death of a sibling, parent or custodial caregiver.
  • Age: We accept referral for families with children under 21.
  • Geographic Catchment: The cities of Toronto, Etobicoke and Scarborough.
  • Palliative Referrals: The child’s family member, or the child, must have a terminal diagnosis of 6 months or less and be eligible for palliative care support.
  • Bereavement Referrals: Services are offered to all bereaved children and youth, regardless of the cause of death or time since the death.

What Families Can Expect

Upon receipt of a referral, families will be contacted by a member of our team by phone or email within 10 business days. The intention of this first communication is to gather additional information from families and to schedule an initial intake session. Intake sessions will take place at the Centre (250 Davisville Ave) with children and parents/caregivers present. A grief counsellor will meet with the family, parent/caregiver-only and child-only to provide psycho-education and supportive counselling. Upon completion of this in-person intake session, and after consultation with the client and clinical team, the counsellor will connect the family with services offered at the Centre and/or in the community.

Grief Support Services include:

Group Programming
Following a death, specialized groups and Family Nights provide families with access to education, connection and peer support to build coping skills, caregiving skills and a sense of community.

Camp Programming
Following a death, specialized camp programs combine the therapeutic and recreational benefits of an outdoor camp with immersive grief education, peer support and community.

Individual and Family Palliative Counselling
When someone has a terminal illness up to 4 sessions are available to prepare children, youth and families for what to expect, support open communication and engage in legacy work.

Individual and Family Grief Counselling
Following a death, brief counselling is available to normalize feelings of grief, encourage emotional expression, provide helpful coping strategies and support enduring bonds.

*Location and Hours: Group programming and individual counselling appointments are scheduled during working hours at 250 Davisville Ave, Suite 405.

Education, Consultation and Training

We provide consultation and education for health care professionals, children’s mental health providers, and boards of education. Please contact info@griefcentre.org for more information.

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