The unique approach of community social pediatrics
The integrated social medicine approach developed by Dr. Julien focuses on the needs, interests and fundamental rights of children in vulnerable circumstances. It creates a protective circle around the child by leveraging the child’s strengths together with the resources of their family and the key people in their life and their community, in a collaborative way. Researchers agree that the ability to reach and identify children with the greatest needs is enhanced by geographical proximity combined with the availability of activities directly within the community and links with institutions.*
*Clément et al., 2015
The EEDA method
E is for Establishing a special relationship. This involves getting to know each other and building a relationship of trust to work in partnership.
E is for Exchanging. This involves sharing, speaking with the child, their family and those around them and allowing emotions, facts or ideas to be expressed without prejudice or judgement.
D is for Decoding. This involves using an integrated approach to analyse everyone’s understanding and experiences in order to decode the meaning of a problem and decide what steps to take next.
A is for Action. This involves creating and implementing an intervention plan with the child, involving their extended family and the community and ensuring follow-up.
The assessment/course of action meeting sets out a clinical approach that applies the EEDA method. It requires a collaborative dynamic focused on the needs of the child. It precedes the follow-up/support phase, which encompasses a range of care and services provided throughout the child’s life.
This first contact with the child and their family is simple and relaxed. It is about meeting the receptionist, the physician and the social worker, playing and getting to know each other.
The child and other participants sit around a table, creating a friendly atmosphere to encourage sharing. The child introduces the people who are there with them. The meeting’s framework is explained.
3. information sharing
By talking with the child and other participants, the physician and the psychosocial professional seek to understand the situation of the child and their family. Their strengths are identified, along with their needs and their rights.
4. Parallel discussion
In the clinical exam, the child speaks one-on-one with the physician seeking to understand their needs. Meanwhile, the social worker and others continue the discussion to complete the psychosocial assessment and make observations.
5. Information sharing
Observations are shared and potential solutions are put forward. The child and their family are actively involved, so that the child’s needs can be brought to light without judgement.
6. Action plan
Following the physician’s diagnosis, an action plan is formulated collectively, including the child and its family, based on agreed-upon priorities. It includes the child’s needs and strengths and identifies the services available in the social pediatrics centre and in the community.
The team ascertains the expectations of the family and the child based on the proposed solutions and next steps. The meeting always ends by highlighting one of the child’s strengths, to reinforce the bond of trust.
Community social pediatrics is based on the idea of empowerment—the meaningful participation of the child and the engagement of their extended family and community—as well as cooperation with institutional resources. Their respective strengths provide leverage for daily action. Neighbours, Grands Amis volunteers, community organizations, local schools and daycare centres, family homes and institutions can come together like a village and create a caring, protective circle around our children.