Poverty, situations of abuse, violence, neglect, drug addiction, precarious immigration status, mental he alth problems, teenage pregnancy… La Maison Bleue helps families expecting a child and living in a context of vulnerability.
Kim had her first child at 16. His second, at age 20. She was then living on a Native American reservation, with a mother struggling with mental he alth issues. She had no resources and, at a young age, few tools to develop her parenting skills. The DPJ judged that she was not fit to take care of her children. Kim lost custody of it. Her two little ones were sent to foster homes. She hasn't known anything about their life since.
In 2014, when she got pregnant again, Kim left her stash to prevent history from happening again. It was at the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal, where she had been, that she was told about La Maison Bleue.
A great help
Founded by Dr. Vania Jimenez and her daughter Amélie Sigouin, the first Maison Bleue opened in 2007 in the Côte-des-Snows, in Montreal. Its mission is to reduce social inequalities by intervening with pregnant women in vulnerable situations. Like Kim…and thousands more.
La Maison Bleue brings together several stakeholders under one roof: family doctors, midwives, nurses, social workers, psychoeducators, specialized educators. Gathered in a welcoming and safe living environment for all family members, these services aim to promote the optimal development of children, from their mother's womb to the age of 5 years.
A Third Blue House
In 2011, a second Maison Bleue opened its doors in the Parc-Extension district. Then, two weeks ago, a third Maison Bleue welcomed its first families in the Saint-Michel district. This social perinatal center always sets up in neighborhoods where poverty is greater, and therefore where the needs are the most pressing.
It was at La Maison Bleue in Côte-des-Neiges that Kim found the comfort she needed for her third pregnancy. “At first, I was skeptical. I hesitated to trust these people who wished me well. It was unusual for me. But I quickly let my guard down,” she says.
Since joining the La Maison Bleue family, Kim has given birth to Emrick Ezekiel, William Anthony and Victoria Elizabeth. With the support of professionals, she gained confidence in herself and in her parenting abilities. Her spouse, Jean-Sébastien,believes that all families should have the chance to have a Blue House: “It is an essential service, it is what allows us to be able to respond in the right way to the needs of our children. »
The family, who lives in Saint-Michel, will now benefit from the services of the brand new Maison Bleue, which will save them a lot of travel by public transport.
Financial support and projects
It is thanks to a donation of $1.3 million from the Marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation that La Maison Bleue was able to settle in the Saint-Michel district.
Present at its official inauguration last Monday, Gaétan Barrette, Minister of He alth and Social Services, announced financial assistance of $100,000 per year for each of the three Blue Houses. “The he alth system cannot exist on its own, it needs community organizations. This collaboration is essential and should always exist,” he says.
La Maison Bleue wants to open two other establishments by 2020.