Notice of Appointment – New Executive Director at the Fraser Valley Child Development Centre (FVCDC)

The Board of Directors are excited to announce the appointment of Karen Dickenson Smith as Executive Director of the Fraser Valley Child Development Centre, effective April 6, 2020. Ms. Dickenson Smith succeeds Karen McLean who served as Executive Director for 22 years prior to her retirement.

View the news article here

Fraser Valley Child Development Centre earns Three-Year CARF Accreditation

CARF International announced that Fraser Valley Child Development Centre has been accredited for a period of three years for its Behavioral Consultation Services (Children and Adolescents), Child and Youth Services, and Family Services programs. The latest accreditation is the sixth consecutive Three-Year Accreditation that the international accrediting body, CARF, has given to Fraser Valley Child Development Centre.

This accreditation decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be given to an organization and shows the organization’s substantial conformance to the CARF standards. An organization receiving a Three-Year Accreditation has put itself through a rigorous peer review process. It has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit its commitment to offering programs and services that are measurable, accountable, and of the highest quality.

Fraser Valley Child Development Centre nonprofit organization with offices in Abbotsford and Chilliwack.  It has been providing child development services in the Fraser Valley since 1982. 

CARF is an independent, nonprofit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value, and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process and continuous improvement services that center on enhancing the lives of the persons served. Founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and now known as CARF International, the accrediting body establishes consumer-focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services. For more information about the accreditation process, please visit the CARF website at

For additional information, contact Karen McLean, Executive Director 604-852-2686 x2227


PlayWorks is a supportive and informal drop in opportunity for families with children 0-5 years old.  It is a time for parents/caregivers to play with their child, and explore questions, concerns and successes about their child's development in a relaxed environment.  All families with young children (including young siblings) are welcome.  Each session is hosted by FVCDC staff.

The free group meets on Wednesdays from 3:30pm-5:00pm beginning September 18, 2019 at the Sweeney Neighbourhood Centre.

Contact 604-852-2686 for more information.  Registration for this program is not required.

Silent Auction Art Speaks Loudly

If there is a visual image associated with Rick Mercer, it has to be the vibrant colours of the graffiti-covered Toronto alley way where he films his weekly "rants". The birght, loud colours splashed on brick walls in a gritty back alley are the perfect backdrop for his equally loud and gritty commentaries on current events.

It is this association that led organizers of the upcoming Rick Mercer Rant and Raise to the idea of having an artist create an art piece during the event - something that would reflect both Rick's ranting voice and give voice to the famlies supported by the event. Contemparary artist Linda Klippenstein was chosen for this task and she is excited to be part of this fundraiser for the Fraser Valley Child Development Centre and Matthew's House.

I love Rick Mercer and I love both these organizations. It's a great opportunity for me to be a part of this and support this work." - Linda Klippenstein, artist


Klippenstein is a mixed-media artist who creates art in a variety of styles. For the Rick Mercer Rant and Raise she will create a piece on-site that pays homage to the vibrant voice of Mercer's rants and a piece that can be incorporated into any contemporary environment.

"The goal is to have a fabulous art piece for someone's home or office that will have a dynamic, colourful, vibrant feel", she explains.

Klippenstein has recently been exploring resin art which she will create that evening adding vibrant colours. These are poured onto a prepared canvas. At the event, she'll be working in a roped-off area with the canvas close to the ground so that guests can see the work in progress. The art piece will be sold by silent auction that evening. Klippenstein loves the way art has been incorporated into this unique fundraising event.

"People who come will be supporting two really great organizations that do important work in our community", she says. "It's gratigying to think that this artwork will go home with someone as a reminder of the evening and of the support they've given to Matthew's House and the Fraser Valley Child Development Centre. I'm so glad that my art can give voice to this work".

To see more of Klippenstein's art visit her website

A Message from our CEO's - Karyn & Karen

It is a privilege for us to be able to bring such an exciting event to our shared community and to support families in this unique way. Matthew’s House and the Fraser Valley Child Development Centre complement each other well. We share a belief that all children are born with unique strengths, gifts and needs. We believe that parents know their children best and we exist to provide support and resources to strengthen and encourage families. We believe that inclusive communities are strong communities.

This event is an opportunity for you to partner with us and ensure that these important resources will continue to be offered to families who need them. We know that an Evening with Rick Mercer will be a unique and entertaining experience.

We look forward to welcoming you and your guests to what will surely be an evening to remember.

Highest Accreditation Received

The Fraser Valley Child Development Centre has received the highest level of accreditation (3 years) from the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), with some recommendations. Glowing comments included:


  • Families could not say enough about their high levels of satisfaction with services and staff members and appreciate the encouragement and support from staff members and the overall family culture of the organization. Family comments include:
    • "FVCDC has completely changed my life",
    • "Services have been very transformative for our family",
    • "I don't know where I would be without FVCDC".
  • 'One of the community partners stated that she wished "every organization she works with could be as professional as FVCDC".
  • The Fraser Valley Child Development Centre will seek improvement in the areas identified as recommendations from CARF, continuing to meet the highest of quality standards. Congratulations FVCDC, your are "Helping Kids Shine".

Buddy Club - Social Skills Program

The Next Step Autism Program introduces "Buddy Club" in Abbotsford. This social skills group for children aged 6-8 years, consisting of 12 weekly sessions offering children on the Autism Spectrum the opportunity to learn to play and interact cooperatively in a variety of social settings. Autism Funding may be used. For all the details and contact information to register please see attached Buddy Club Flyer.

LEGO Club - Abbotsford

Next Step Autism in Abbotsford has a Social Skills program "LEGO Club" for children aged 8-12 years. This group consists of twelve weeks of LEGO Based Social Skills instruction. Activities include freestyle LEGO builds, LEGO games, LEGO crafts and other cooperative play. Autism Funding may be used. Starting September 27th, at Terry Fox Elementary, Tuesday's 3:15pm-5:15pm. For all the details please see LEGO Club flyer.


Coming Soon - CARF International Survey Team

A survey team from CARF International* will be visiting FVCDC on June 22-24, 2016. We invited the surveyors to evaluate how well we meet international standards for quality. They survey will tell us what we are doing well and ways we might improve. As a result of this survey, we may earn or continue accrediation.

As part of the survey, the surveyors will interview people who recieve services, their families, our staff, and others. Some questions the survey team members might ask people are:

  • Do we provide a clean and safe setting?
  • Do you receive the services you need and want?
  • Are you treated with respect?
  • Do you take part in planning your services?
  • Are you told what you need to know about your services?
  • Are your questions answered in a way you understand?
  • Do you know where to go with questions or concerns?

If you would like to talk with one of the survey team members or want to learn more about CARF International, please let one of our staff members know. You may also contact CARF International directly.

  • Internet:
  • Email:
  • Mail: CARF International, 6951 East Southpoint Road, Tucson, AS 85756, USA
  • Telephone: (520) 495-7001
  • Fax: (520) 318-1128

*CARF International - A gorup of companies that includes CARF, CARF Canada, and CARF Europe


Practicum Student Observations

As movement specialists, physiotherapy aim to provide parents with the right therapy for their kids to improve locomotive behaviors and achieve functional goals or movement milestones. This week I had the pleasure to witness a child discover his own feet!

After preliminary crawling and place his feet in his mouth, his legs (body) primed the sensory systems (brain) to declare that his feet are part of his body!

I watched in amazement when the child repeatedly lifted his legs and smashed them to the floor (proprioceptions), then he extends his back and thrash his legs around (motor experimentation).

To most people this looks like normal kid play, but I was ecstatic at how the child was creating his own input to his feet, and his feet are telling him "HERE I AM". These are the preliminary steps to standing!

The brain tells the body to move, and the body tells the brain where it is. Beautiful. To watch a child begin to integrate his feet and mind is quite the amazing experience.

~ Justin, Physical Therapy Student


Decoding the Autistic Brain

First time to be offered in Canada, Kim Bathel, BMR, OTR will present a comprehensive understanding of Autism for assessment and intervention. These presentations will provide you with an up-to-date and deeper understanding of the brain-body science of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Registration is open  Register for 4 days of presentations or pick and choose individual days.

April 13-16, 2016
Abbotsford, BC

Presentation Flyer

Presentation Agenda




In Celebration of World CP Day


For Desiree and Alex and their two children, life changed when their twin girls arrived early at 25 weeks, each weighing just over a pound. Skyla and Jayde were born three years ago on Father's Day. They spent their first 104 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at BC Children's Hospital. The girls were diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP).

Desiree, Alex, Aodhan and Taiya spent their twin's first summer living in a trailer in the hospital parking lot to be close to the twins. "We tried to find a balance because at the time there was no child care offered for the older siblings," Desiree explains. "It's a difficult life for everyone at first - but we are here!" Desiree says with a smile. And "here" means home with plenty of help from loving grandparents, therapists, doctors, nurses, support workers and a community which is growing its understanding of cerebral palsy.

The girls are now three. They attend preschool and take naps, and enjoy family time just like their peers. Jayde loves molding playdough with her mom and listening to music, and Skyla loves shaving cream painting with her dad and outside time on the trampoline.


                          Jayde                                                                                Skyla

When the family is out and about, going to many appointments, running errands or driving to school, they get some stares - and sometimes the family feels under the spotlight, judged, and misunderstood. Desiree and Alex want the community to know they welcome questions and interaction. "Abbotsford is a great community and I want more people to understand just what cerebral palsy is," says Desiree.

The CP Association of BC states, cerebral palsy is a term used to describe a group of disorders affecting body movement and muscle coordination. Cerebral Palsy is typically caused by brain damage before or during a child's birth. Characteristics of CP may include:

  • lack of coordination
  • muscle tightness or spasm
  • involuntary movement
  • speech impairment
  • difficulty with gross &/or fine motor skills

For Desiree and Alex it was a crash course in medical and therapeutic terminology for the family who knew very little about cerebal palsy at the time. Alex points out that the main day-to-day focus is all about the health of the twins. "Everything else revolves around the girls and how they are doing. If they have a respiratory problem or eating issues, it takes precedence over everything. Even a cold virus can be fatal to them". Adding to the complexity are equipment and supplies necessary to support the girls' growth and development. Skya and Jayde require wheelchairs and feeding chairs, orthodics and adaptive equipment, with the costs continuing to grow and often a huge strain on the family. This is where charitable organizations such as the Variety Club, generous individuals and companies like CKNW can really make a difference. Approaching organizations for support has become a part-time job for Alex - on top of his full time position in a steel mill in Surrey. With each stage of the girls' development they require new equipment and therapies, and the costs will continue to grow. Desiree and Alex are already looking at the need for an accessible mini-van, an elevator in their home and more.

The loving and supportive couple wants other families with special needs to know that in the beginning everything seems impossible, but there are always people there to help. "Where would we be without the Fraser Valley Child Development Centre?" Alex asks. "Being able to ask for direction every step of the way is so important," says Desiree. She admits she had a really hard time at the beginning. "I couldn't face it at first," she shares. "Now I am more confident". Our Infant Development Consultant once told us, "This is not a sprint, it's a marathon," and that's the way we have to look at it. You don't look down the road too far, you live day by day."

Today is World CP Day! Desiree and Alex have shared their daughters' story in support of raising awareness and understanding of CP. Wear green in support!

If you wish to learn more about CP and how you can support, visit BC Cerebal Palsy Association

Special thanks to Cate Pederson (Twitter: @catepedersen) for your help with this story.


Connecting with your Preschooler

Preschool years can be challenging. Your baby has grown up so much - they may talk non-stop, they are becoming independent, they may be strong willed, they are exploring a range of feelings and emotions. So as parents, what should be do with them at this stage?


Be consciously intentional - everything you do is modeling a way of being to your child.

Children learn by doing - invite them to participate with you in doing daily chores.

Read stories with you child - chidlren love repetition and learning stories by heart.

Take time to play - follow your child's lead.

Keep screen time to a minimum - for both of you.

To read this full article, visit the link to the right "Understanding Child Development Handouts"

Wheelchair Sports Day

Therapists from FVCDC recently coordinated a great morning of Wheelchair Sports with BC Wheelchair Association, BC Wheelchair Basketball and Let's Play. School aged FVCDC friends joined in to sample the sports and then had a wonderful Basketball interaction with BC Basketballers - Ben from Chilliwack and Ben from Abbotsford. Many thanks to all that participated and coordinated the wonderful mentoring event. Click here to see the photos from the event.


Annual FVCDC Family & Friends Picnic

Blog & Resources

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