La Maison Bleue enters its 10th year of existence this year and is still going strong, providing “a nest and wings” during and after pregnancy for women in vulnerable contexts, according to Amélie Sigouin, executive director and cofounder. A true social innovation, La Maison Bleue has developed an intervention model that combines the strengths of the health and social services network, represented by the Côte-des-Neiges Family Medicine Group (FMG) and the Integrated Health and Social Services University Network for West-Central Montreal (West-Central Montreal Health), and those of an independent non-profit organization (NPO) rooted in the community and closely tied to community partners. This atypical model provides a continuum of free public services to families and to marginalized and isolated communities.
“By joining the strengths of the public healthcare network to that of La Maison Bleue, we are able to meet the complex social perinatal needs of future mothers, of children and of families,” says Amélie Sigouin. “La Maison Bleue operates autonomously and ensures a flexibility in decision-making and action-taking that is necessary for our community-based practice.”
An interdisciplinary team
This NPO, which opened in 2007, creates necessary and favourable medical and psychosocial conditions for birth and early childhood in family homes experiencing vulnerable situations. The interdisciplinary team includes midwives, family physicians, social workers, special education teachers, psychoeducators, and nurses. Although their social perinatal mandate remains constant, the Côtes-des-Neiges and Park-Extension centres adjust certain activities depending on the specifics of their local clientele.
“Every year, families regain dignity, autonomy, and hope for a better future for their young ones,” states Guylaine Tremblay, a celebrity spokesperson to La Maison Bleue since its opening. During the 2015–16 year, 630 families benefited from its services. And, since opening, La Maison Bleue has helped more than 1,600 children and 1,200 mothers and families to thrive.
"La Maison Bleue is to be congratulated for its ten years of success in meeting such an essential need in the lives of new mothers and their infants," says Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg, President and CEO of West-Central Montreal Health. "Our network is proud to be involved in this innovative interdisciplinary partnership, which provides much-needed medical and psycho-social support to women who may find themselves in a particularly vulnerable position during their pregnancy."