Ville Marie Social Services

Organizations / Ville Marie Social Services

The History of Ville Marie Social Services

"Ville Marie Social Services was initially located in Place Dupuis at 855 Ste-Catherine east. It later relocated to 4018 Ste-Catherine west in Westmount and then 2155 Guy in Montreal. Its first Director General was J. D'Arcy Coulson."

Ville Marie Social Services logo

In July of 1973, in accordance with the passage of an Act Respecting Health Services and Social Services (1971 S.O. CH. 45) six community based, volunteer, independent social service agencies were merged to form the Ville Marie Social Service Centre (VMSSC) (O.C. 2119 - 73, G.O. 4471) Its objective was to provide specialized social services, especially for prevention, consultation, psycho-social or rehabilitation treatment, adoption and placement of children or aged persons. VMSSC was to carry on the services which had been provided previously by the six independent agencies. These six agencies were: Catholic Family and Children's Services, Lakeshore Community Services, The Foster Home Recruiting Centre, The John Howard Society, The Children's Service Centre and The Family Service Association. Of these agencies, three of them had been providing services to the Montreal Anglophone community from the turn of the century.

Catholic Family and Children's Services Inc.

This agency was incorporated under this name, by supplementary letters patent on April 30, 1970 (O.C. 1874 - 76, G.O. 1970, 3853) and its purposes were "to conserve and develop family life as a foundation of human society under the name of "Catholic Family and Children's Services Inc." however the agency had been providing social services from 1930 when the Reverend Father Ambrose had formed the "Catholic Welfare-Bureau" which was under his direction through to 1966. Among the services provided were 1) marriage and family counseling, 2) service to the aged, 3) service to adolescents, 4) homemaker services, 5) foster care development and 6) an adoption department. The original Catholic Welfare Bureau was founded as a response to Montreal's Catholic Anglophone community to the grave problems of socio-economic stress brought on by the depression and concern for the well- being of families and children deprived of substance and of financial and social support. At the time of the merger in 1973, Catholic Family and Children's Services employed fifty-five (55) full-time workers, five (5) part-time and forty-two (42) trained volunteers. The services were provided for the most part in the English language.

Foster Home Recruiting Centre

This agency was founded in 1969 as one of the first organizations formed specifically to deal with finding foster homes for children as agencies moved away from the concept of institutionalizing such children.

The John Howard Society

The John Howard Society is the oldest prisoner's aid .and penal reform society in Canada. Formed in 1892 under the name of the "Prisoner's Aid Association" and in 1947 became known as the "John Howard Society" its objectives are the initiation of penal reforms, rehabilitation of the adult offender, probation and parole activities and the study of modern methods of penology.

Lakeshore Community Services

This agency was first incorporated on February 20, 1957 under the name of Lakeshore Welfare Services (O.C. 10425 -57 G.O. 1957, 1322). Its objectives were: "to provide services to assist in meeting welfare, recreation and health needs in the area known as the Lakeshore, in the county of Jacques Cartier and. elsewhere through stimulating public action for improvement of social conditions, under the name of "Lakeshore Welfare Services".

It served the twelve municipalities from Dorval to Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue offering a full range of social services to area residents of all ages. Among these services were counseling, youth protection and foster home recruitment and placement, placing elderly people in nursing homes, providing homemaker services to elderly to allow them to remain in their own homes as long as possible, senior citizen's homes and boarding services. At the time of the merger in 1973, Lakeshore Community Services had a full-time staff of forty-four (44). Services were rendered for the most part in English.

Children's Service Centre

The Children's Service Centre is one of Montreal's oldest welfare agencies. It was first created in 1869 under the name of -The Protestant Infants Home of Montreal- (1870 S.O. CH. 56) which had among its objectives’ “to receive and save the lives if possible of the infants of Protestant mothers… and by employing the mothers as nurses, endeavor to encourage and strengthen the tie that binds her to her offspring.” This agency went through a series of successive name changes until in 1951, it became the “Children's Service Centre” (1951 S.O. CH. 122) whose objective was: “to provide a co-ordinated and continuous service to any child who needs care away from his own home”.

Among the services provided were foster home recruitment and placement, adoption placement, counseling services to parents in re-uniting families, medical and dental services as well as psychiatric and psychological services. The Children's Service ~entre also administered two foster homes, the Allancroft Home and the Ruby Rudel Home. The Children's Service Centre also owned the property on which the Allancroft Home was situated, at 141 Elm Avenue in Beaconsfield. This property was sold to the Centre in two separate deeds, the first on December 1, 1952 (Deed No. 983876) and on May 22, 1953 (Deed No. 1009766) by Joseph Lequeux, before S. Elkin, Notary. By Deed dated December 3, 1973 (Deed No. 2480341), Ville Marie Social Service Centre became the owner (R. Chartrand, Notary) and continues to own the property which is presently administered by, the “Youth Horizons” division.

The Children's Service Centre also owned a property at 5 Weredale Park in Westmount. They acquired this property through a gift inter-vivos from the Boys Home of Montreal by Deed, May- 8, 1958 (Deed No. 13(1706) before P.V.V. Betts, Notary. By Deed dated December 3, 1973 (Deed No. 2480341) R. Chartrand, Notary, this property came into the hands of Ville Marie Social Service Centre. The property is presently used by “Centre City” an area service centre in the Ville Marie network. At the time of the merger in 1973 Children's Service Centre employed 112 people full time and another seventeen (17) part- time. The services were rendered primarily in languages other than French.

Family Service Association (O.C. 12785 - 59, G.O. 1959, 2678)

This agency was originally created in 1900 under the name of the "Charities Organization Society" with the objectives -to prevent -duplication in financial assistance, to eliminate begging, to provide employment and to improve social conditions-. Of these original goals, the improvement of social conditions is the one that has remained. The Family Service Association has been one of the most important social service facilities in Montreal. They started social worker training classes, which led to the creation of a Department of Social Studies at McGill. They also set up one of the first employment bureaus in the city.

The Family Service Association provided service for the aged, administering two geriatric homes, Prospect House and Belvedere House, as well as providing homemaker services for the aged. They also provided child care through the provision of probation officers and proper room for detention. Other services offered included counseling with special emphasis on marital problems and multi-problem families, day care services, programs dealing with child abuse and geriatric problems as well as providing student training and field placement centres. The agency also owned a property at 4515 Ste-Catherine Street which was transferred to the Family Welfare Association from Crown Agencies on November 21, 1959 (Deed No. 1441744) before W.F.W. Pratt, Notary on December 3, 1973. This property was then transferred to Ville Marie Social Service Centre (Deed No. 2480341) before R. Chartrand, Notary. This property is presently used by the Department of Youth Protection and the Regional Resource Development Division, both of which are part of the Ville Marie network.

At the time of the merger, the Family Service Association employed seventy-six (76) full-time workers. The services were rendered in twenty-six (26) languages.