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About our Counselling Services

The Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre provides counselling to children, youth and families (0-21) who are living with the dying or death of a sibling, parent or primary 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.

Counselling Program Eligibility

Referrals for counselling 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.

  • Family Relationship: Services offered to support grief related to dying or death of a parent, sibling, or individual with custodial or primary family role.
  • 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.

Individual and Family Palliative Care Counselling

Family member is palliative at time of referral – eligible for up to 4 sessions

Individual and Family Grief Counselling

Family member has died at time of referral – eligible for brief counselling program.

Program Philosophy

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 trauma-informed support to ensure there is a continuity of care for clients that is responsive to the strengths, needs and relationships in each family. Counselling may employ a mix of creative, play-based and arts-based approaches.  This model advocates for honest, open communication for the children involved and supports family members in further developing coping and communication skills to grieve together.

"…there is something down deep within all of us ready to help us survive the things we think we can’t survive."

- Tear Soup