Health + Development

If you’ve got worries about the health or development of a little one in your life you’ve come to the right place.

The Comox Valley is full of programs that are focused on helping kids be healthy and develop to their complete potential. This page lists those programs.

 
 
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CANADIAN TIRE JUMPSTART

Financial assistance is available for Comox Valley children ages 4 – 18 years in eligible activities. For more information contact Canadian Tire Jumpstart or your local recreation centre.

 

ABORIGINAL CHILD + YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM

Aboriginal Child and Youth Mental Health services are available to infants, children and youth up to 18 years of age who are experiencing mental health challenges. Treatment focuses on providing individual treatment for the youth as well as family support.

Mental health disorders may include anxiety, eating disorders, psychosis, depression, attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention hyperactivity disorder, bipolar or post traumatic stress disorder.

For more information or to find out if Child and Youth Mental Health services are appropriate for your child, please contact the local office.

Get In Touch

Phone: 250-334-5820
Location: Ministry of Children and Family Development, 2455 Mansfield Drive, Courtenay (map)

 
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Aboriginal Speech and Language Program

This program is for families and children 0-6 years old who are of Aboriginal ancestry. It provides support for children who have speech or language needs in a culturally respectful and inclusive way.

A speech and language pathologist can support families (along with teachers and other caregivers) to help children with:

  • saying words clearly

  • using longer sentences

  • talking more smoothly, helping with stuttering

  • feeding and/or swallowing difficulties

This free, flexible program is available Monday through Friday, 8:30-4:30 and services can be offered at the childs home, daycare, preschool or at the program office.

Get In Touch

Phone or text: 250-331-1638
Email: aboriginalspeech@cvcda.ca
Location: Upper Island Women of Native Ancestry, #105-1509 Cliffe Avenue, Courtenay (map)

 
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BC HEALTHY KIDS PROGRAM

This program helps low income families with the costs of basic dental care, hearing support, and prescription eye wear for their children (under the age of 19).

Before beginning treatment, confirm that the dentist or optical provider offers services under the BC Healthy Kids program AND see if there will be additional charges over what the BC Healthy Kids program will cover

If a family has been approved for MSP premium assistance, they are automatically eligible for Healthy Kids. If you need to apply for Premium Assistance, call 604-683-7151 or toll free at: 1-800-663-7100.

If you have questions about your child’s teeth and your child is under the age of 6, you may want to contact the Community Dental Hygienist.

Get In Touch

Phone: 1-800-663-7100

 

CHILD + YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM

Child and Youth Mental Health (CYMH) services are available to infants, children and youth up to 18 years of age who are experiencing mental health challenges.

Mental health disorders may include anxiety, eating disorders, psychosis, depression, attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention hyperactivity disorder, bipolar or post traumatic stress disorder.

For more information or to find out if Child and Youth Mental Health services are appropriate for your child, please contact the local office.

Get In Touch

Phone: 250-334-5820
Location: Ministry of Children and Family Development, 2455 Mansfield Drive, Courtenay (map)

 

Children + Youth with Special needs team

Specialized service and funding options may be available for children or teens who have special needs and their families.

Please note that, in most cases, certain eligibility requirements must be met in order to qualify.

Children and Youth with Special Needs (CYSN) staff are available to discuss what services might be available and provide other useful information or support.

Learn about other programs and services available for children or teens who have:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Complex health needs

  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

  • Hearing or vision loss

  • Intellectual disabilities

Get In Touch

Phone: 250-334-5820
Location: Ministry of Children and Family Development, 2455 Mansfield Drive, Courtenay (map)

 

Community Dental Hygienist

This program is available for parents with children age 0-5 years who may have questions or concerns about their child’s teeth.

Some common issues are:

  • When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?

  • My toddler refuses to let me brush her teeth. What can I do?

  • If my child does need dental work, I’m worried about the cost.

The Community Dental Hygienist can help answer questions, do dental screenings, provide fluoride varnish and assist with dental advocacy and support.

Get In Touch

Contact: Emily Dunbar
Phone: 250-331-8520, extension 68289
Email: emily.dunbar@viha.ca
Location: Public Health Nursing, 961 England Avenue, Courtenay (map)

 
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AUTISM BC - COMOX VALLEY FAMILY SUPPORT GROUP

This group supports families in our community who have children on the autism spectrum.

There is no prerequisite to join and no diagnosis is necessary – only the need for support and a desire to connect with other families. 

The meetings are held at the Comox Valley Child Development Association the first Thursday of every month @ 7:00 pm.

Get In Touch

Contact: Amanda Flentjar
Phone: 250-338-4288
Email: comoxvalleyautismparentgroup@gmail.com
Location: Child Development Association, 237 3rd Street, Courtenay (map)

 
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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder key worker program

This program assists families with children age 0-19 to understand Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

What is does a Key Worker do?

  • provide education and information to the child and family, specific to their needs

  • assist families in accessing support, health and education services in the community

  • provide emotional and practical support to families

  • build on each family’s strengths and empower them to become the best advocate for their child

  • support families who are going through the process of a formal assessment for their child

How does a family get referred to this program?

  • Parents may self-refer without an assessment or at any point during the assessment process.

Although based at the Wachiay Friendship Center, Aboriginal ancestry is not required for this program.

Get In Touch

Contact: Allison
Phone: 250-338-7793, extension 224
Email: allison@wachiay.com
Location: Wachiay Friendship Centre, 1625 McPhee Ave, Courtenay (map)

 

FAMILYSMART

FamilySmart is an organization that offers a variety of supports to families whose children may have mental health challenges.

These supports include:

  • providing families with an opportunity to speak with other families who understand and may be able to offer support or advice on what has worked for them

  • providing families and professionals with information, tools, and tips on how to support and assist children with mental health difficulties

  • Parent in Residence program: a parent in your community who has lived experience with mental health challenges and who can provide you with resources and support.

Get In Touch

Contact: Wendy Safruik
Phone: 1-855-887-8004
Email: wendy.safruik@familysmart.ca

 
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FRIDAY’S CHILD

The program supports parents and families who face challenges with daily tasks as a result of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and other cognitive or behavioural difficulties. The program provides a safe environment for Aboriginal children and their families who face extraordinary challenges in ordinary situations.

Families participate in confidential talking circles and find support with our highly-trained staff and a supportive community. Transportation and a healthy lunch is provided. The program is free.

Phone: 250-465-2066
Email: fridayschild@shaw.ca
Location: Aboriginal Head Start, 956 Grieve Avenue, Courtenay (map)

 

HealthLink BC Phone Line

Call 8-1-1 from anywhere in British Columbia to speak with the following health professionals:

  • Nurses

    • Can help with non-emergency health concerns

    • Available day or night

  • Dietitians

    • Can answer your healthy eating and nutrition questions

    • Available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm

  • Exercise Professionals

    • Can answer your physical activity questions and offer advice

    • Available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm

  • Pharmacists

    • Can answer your medication questions when your community pharmacist may be unavailable

    • Available from 5pm to 9am every night of the week

Get In Touch

Phone: 811

 

Hearing Clinic

The Island Health Hearing Clinic staff work with individual clients, professionals and agencies to identify children and eligible adults who are hard of hearing or deaf.

Services include:

  • FREE hearing testing for children aged 0-19 years of age

  • Hearing aid fitting/dispensing when indicated

  • Management and support of children with hearing loss

  • Kindergarten hearing screening

  • Universal newborn hearing screening, and follow-up when needed.

Some things to watch for with your child are:

  • delayed speech, chronic ear infections, unusually attentive to softer sounds, loud voices, etc.

Note: routine monitoring includes a hearing screening at birth. For children with a family history of profound hearing loss, the next routine hearing test is at age three. However, if concerns arise about the child’s hearing before age three, he or she can be tested at any time.

Get In Touch

Contact: Megan Williams
Phone: 250-331-8526, extension 68284
Location: Courtenay Hearing Clinic, #104-501 4th Street, Courtenay (map)

 

Immunization Clinics

Vaccinating your child is one of the most important things you can do to protect their health.

Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases because their immune systems are less mature, and therefore less able to fight off infection. In infants and young children, these diseases can cause serious illness, long-term disability and even death. Vaccines provide the best and safest protection against them.

Appointments at the Comox Valley Health Unit are available:

  • Monday afternoons

  • Tuesday mornings

  • Wednesday evenings

  • Friday mornings

If it is not possible to book an appointment ahead of time, there is a drop-in clinic on Thursday afternoons from 1:00pm -3:00pm at the Health Unit.

Please note: there are clinics offered in outlying areas such as Black Creek, Denman and Hornby Islands. For dates and times, please call the Health Unit.

Get In Touch

Contact: Public Health Nursing
Phone: 250-331-8520
Location: Comox Valley Health Unit, 961 England Avenue, Courtenay (map)

 

Infant Development Program

This is a program for families with children from birth to 3 years of age who are at risk for, or who may have developmental delays.

How do I use this program? Do I need a referral?

You can self-refer or if you like, a doctor, public health nurse or other community professional can make a referral on your behalf.

What happens once the referral is made?

The Family Advocate (Beth) will contact you and arrange a visit to explain the program. Then, an IDP consultant can come to your home to visit with you and your child. This is where you can talk about your questions and concerns.

What is offered in the IDP program?

  • developmental screening and monitoring

  • therapy consultation

  • service coordination

  • a toy and book lending library

  • a consultant for children and families of Aboriginal ancestry

As this program is family-centered, families decide what kind of support they need and participation is voluntary.

Get In Touch

Contact: Beth
Phone: 250-338-4288, extension 225
Email: advocate@cvcda.ca
Location: Child Development Association, 237 3rd Street, Courtenay (map)

 

Occupational therapy

This program provides assessment, treatment and intervention strategies for children from birth to school age who need extra support.

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy is about skills and abilities. For children, this would involve help with play & social skills and abilities such as balance, fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

How do I use this program? Do I need a referral?

You can refer yourself or if you like, a doctor, public health nurse or another community professional can make a referral on your behalf.

Get In Touch

Contact: Beth
Phone: 250-338-4288, extension 225
Email: advocate@cvcda.ca
Location: Child Development Association, 237 3rd Street, Courtenay (map)

 

Physical Therapy

This program provides assessment, treatment and intervention strategies for children from birth to school age who need extra support.

What is physical therapy?

Physical therapy is about gross motor development – strength, balance, coordination and movement skills such as throwing a ball and riding a bike.

How do I use this program? Do I need a referral?

You can refer yourself or if you like, a doctor, public health nurse or another community professional can make a referral on your behalf.

Get In Touch

Contact: Beth
Phone: 250-338-4288, extension 225
Email: advocate@cvcda.ca
Location: Child Development Association, 237 3rd Street, Courtenay (map)

 

Prenatal Classes

Prenatal classes are taught by childbirth educators and covers topics important to you during your pregnancy such as nutrition, lifestyle factors, community support and your hopes for your pregnancy and birth. You may want information about getting ready for your baby’s arrival including what to expect when feeding and caring for your new baby.

As classes can fill up quickly, it is important to register as soon as you can, even if you are early on in your pregnancy.

Registration is done through the Right From the Start program and can be completed online. If you would like to speak to someone about the program, please contact Public Health Nursing.

Get In Touch

Contact: Public Health Nursing
Phone: 250-331-8520
Email: rfts@viha.ca
Location: Comox Valley Health Unit, 961 England Avenue, Courtenay (map)

 

Right From The Start

The Right from the Start program offers support for pregnant women and new mothers, their babies, children and families.

A public health nurse works in partnership with you and your care team, offering services that include:

  • free health and pregnancy information

  • education and support

  • referrals to community resources specific to your individual needs

For more information or to register online, visit the Island Health Right from the Start registration page. You can also contact Public Health Nursing to get more information about the program.

Get In Touch

Contact: Public Health Nursing
Phone: 250-331-8520
Email: rfts@viha.ca
Location: Comox Valley Health Unit, 961 England Avenue, Courtenay (map)

 

Speech + Language Therapy

Speech-language therapy (also called speech-language pathology) for children helps with language difficulties, stuttering and voice problems.

Some of these concerns may include a child who:

  • is difficult to understand

  • is 2 years old and not talking

  • does not seem to understand language

  • struggles with certain sounds or words

  • is embarrassed or frustrated when talking

To refer a child for speech therapy, you can call the Child Development Association and ask to speak with the Family Advocate, Beth.  If you like, a doctor, public health nurse or another community professional can make a referral on your behalf.

Get In Touch

Contact: Beth
Phone: 250-338-4288, extension 225
Email: advocate@cvcda.ca
Location: Child Development Association, 237 3rd Street, Courtenay (map)

 

Supported Child Development Program

All families have similar hopes and dreams for their children – that they will be happy, have friends, enjoy learning and live meaningful lives. For young children with extra support needs, inclusive child care provides an optimal environment for children to achieve these goals and maximize their potential.

What is Supported Child Development?

It helps children successfully participate in the childcare setting of their parent’s choice.

Who can use this program?

Children from birth to age 12 with developmental delays, exceptional health care needs and mental or physical or behavioural challenges.

Do I need a referral to use this program?

You can call the Child Development Association and ask to speak to someone about the Supported Child Development program. If you like, a doctor, public health nurse or another community professional may make a referral on your behalf by contacting the Child Development Association.

What happens at first?

A Supported Childcare Consultant will meet with you to determine the support needs of your child.

Financial Support

Low and middle income parents may apply to the Ministry of Children and Family Development for child care subsidy and the special needs supplement.

Get In Touch

Contact: Beth
Phone: 250-338-4288, extension 225
Email: advocate@cvcda.ca
Location: Child Development Association, 237 3rd Street, Courtenay (map)

 

The Autism Program

This program provides individualized services for children and youth with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

What are the services?

Services include one to one support, small social groups and a 2-week summer camp for teens.

How do I apply for this program?

When your child has received an autism diagnosis, you should receive a binder full of information, including an Application for Autism Funding form. You will need to complete this form and meet with a social worker from the Ministry of Children and Families Development. (MCFD). Once this is done, please give us a call and we can work together to create an intervention plan that best fits your child and family.

Is there a cost to this program?

The fees for this program can be paid through Autism funding from MCFD or by families.

How do I connect with other families?

The Comox Valley Parent/Family Autism Support group meets on the first Thursday of every month at the Child Development Association.

Contact: April Statz
Phone: 250-338-4288, extension 245
Email: april@cvcda.ca
Location: Child Development Association, 237 3rd Street, Courtenay (map)