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About our Counselling Services

Grief will always be there, and the person hurting just needs others to support them, not just for the short term, but also for the long-term.

Our program, the only one in Canada, provides a free service of grief counselling to dying children and to children whose parent or sibling is dying. We have professionals who are devoted to teaching caregivers, medical professionals, families and children to deal with grief, dying and the healing process.

Who we counsel

Referrals for psychosocial services are accepted from any source, including self-referrals.

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

We accept referral for families with children under 21. For children aged 4 or younger, support is offered primarily through provision of support to parent(s)/caregivers. All parent(s)/caregivers are eligible for parenting support.

Geographic Catchment:
The cities of Toronto, Etobicoke and Scarborough.

Palliative Referrals:
The child’s family member, or the child, must have a terminal diagnosis and be eligible for palliative care support.

Bereavement Referrals:
Services are offered to all bereaved children, regardless of the cause of death or time since the death.

How we counsel

All counselling is conducted in a flexible style, which may involve a mix of whole-family, parent-only and child-only supportive counseling, these sessions could include any combination of psycho-education, supportive counseling, supporting emotional processing and expression through creative or verbal means, supporting strength-building and problem-solving in family communication, etc.

Quick Response Program
Family member is palliative at time of referral – eligible for up to 4 sessions with a counselor.

Bereavement Counselling
Family member has died at time of referral – eligible for up to 4 sessions with a counselor.

Additional Bereavement Program Services
Following a death, families referred to ANY of the above services are also eligible to attend family events, therapeutic groups and Camp Erin, and will be informed of additional resources in the community.

Pediatric Palliative Psychosocial Care
Child is palliative at time of referral – eligible for up to 8 sessions with a counselor. Both the ill child and siblings are eligible to receive services.

Program Goals
The Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre is a specialized centre that offers counselling in the home for young people and their families who are living with the dying or the death of an immediate family member or primary caregiver, or who are facing death themselves. We help them find ways to communicate and support one another in their grief, as well as to maintain connections with loved ones who have died. We also provide consultation and education for health care professionals, children’s mental health providers, and boards of education.

Program Philosophy and Approach
The Centre employs a strengths-based approach to supporting children and families. We strive to help family members further develop coping skills, develop the skills and capacity to grieve, support one another and communicate in healthy ways, and advocate for honest, open communication that is developmentally appropriate for the children involved. Our work aims to respond to the needs of children and families at the point in time of our contact. Our services range from psychoeducational support to counseling and all types of services employ a mix of creative, play-based and arts-based approaches and may be located either in the community or at the Centre.

Where we counsel

Families can be seen in the home or community while the family member is palliative. After a family member has died, sessions will take place at the Centre at 250 Davisville Avenue, Suite 405.

Those we've helped

"My life felt over at that point. My health took a steep downturn and I didn't know what to do to save it. That was when I started going for grief counselling and it very well saved my life. Keeping all your emotions in is something you should never do, and I learned there is someone out there that is willing to listen to you. You are never alone."
Robert M., A Bereaved Son

“I learned from my counsellor that sometimes you can't fix things or people. And you just need to let the sadness or the anger be there and then pass through you. And remember that it helps to talk about how you are feeling. Talking helps things get better."
L.C., A Bereaved Child

"The deterioration of my husband's health was very frightening to our children. We wanted him to die at home, but we were concerned about how this would impact the kids. The counsellors helped us to support and prepare the kids for their father's death. This reduced a lot of anxiety and fear for all of us. We are so thankful for the support we received."
An Anonymous Bereaved Wife

Explore more of our programs and services and events

We need your help As a registered charity that DOES NOT RECEIVE GOVERNMENT FUNDING, we rely on the generosity of donors like you to provide children with the support they need at absolutely no cost to their families.

We are a safe space
Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre is a safe and inclusive space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and their allies.