Backgrounder

Backgrounder

About Vanier

Vanier Children's Services (Vanier) is a leader in helping vulnerable children and youth age 0 to 14 overcome serious emotional, mental illness and behavioural problems. For over 50 years, we have served London and surrounding communities in southwestern Ontario with compassionate, best-practice and innovative programs and services.

We work with families and professionals to create a caring, emotionally healthy and supportive community where all children, including the most vulnerable, reach their full potential to lead safe, productive and independent lives.

Vanier is an accredited Children's Mental Health Centre primarily funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

History

Madame Vanier Children's Services opened as a treatment centre for emotionally disturbed children in 1965 after a committee appointed by the Children's Aid Society and the Catholic Social Services, chaired by Mrs. Joan Smith, identified the need.

The May Court Club of London, the Ontario Ministry of Community & Social Services and the United Way of London and Middlesex provided initial funding. The centre was named in honour of Madame Pauline Vanier.

Vanier's original 10 beds soon doubled to 20. In 1968, Vanier was the first private treatment centre to be licensed under the Ontario Children's Mental Health Services legislation. Improved funding allowed Vanier to offer an outpatient clinic service to supplement the residential program.

Vanier continued to outgrow its original home in Fontbonne Hall, a 100 year-old converted mansion. A children's "riot" ended with a dramatic effort by the London Fire Department rescue children from the steep slate roof. This incident and the subsequent press coverage confirmed the need for a facility designed and built to serve the treatment needs of emotionally and behaviourally disturbed children. Planning for a new centre began.

In 1972, Vanier moved to its present home at 871 Trafalgar Street. This modern campus includes residential treatment, day treatment, outpatient service, as well as a 24/7 crisis and intake telephone line, intensive community-based treatment services, therapy and counselling. Two homes in the community served as residential group homes.

Dr. J.R. Dubois was Vanier's first Executive Director and remained in this position until 1985. Dr. Dubois was then followed by Ms. Jeanette Lewis. In 1990, Dr. Barrie Evans held the position until 2008. The current Executive Director is Joanne Sherin.

For more information, contact:

Joanne Sherin, Executive Director
jsherin@vanier.com
519-433-3101, ext. 183