Skip to main content

Social Work

We provide support to families in hospitals or clinics.  Social Workers address key factors including income, housing, food security, and childhood development.  We empower families to overcome barriers to improve overall health for you.

Social workers are available to all patients, as well as their families, who are hospitalized or are attending an outpatient clinic. Social workers can be a part of your child’s health care team at the hospital. Social work is a voluntary service, with participation based on the agreement of patients and families prior to supports being offered.

Referrals to social work services may occur automatically as part of the health care team or from a physician, other staff, a community agency or directly from the patient or parent.

A child’s medical or mental health condition can cause a great deal of family stress. The child, as well as other family members, can sometimes have fears and worries which affect relationships and the ability to carry out daily responsibilities. Family members and caregivers may have to adjust to changes in routine and extra financial needs.

We provide:

  • Assistance to patient families by connecting them to needed resources, supports, and services.
  • Supportive counselling for loss and bereavement, including individuals, family, and group counselling.
  • Service and resource negotiation support for patient families traveling to BC Children's Hospital and Sunny Hill Health Centre to attend medical appointments, including community liaison and advocacy support.
  • Crisis intervention support.
    • Social workers are available to all patient families, who are hospitalized or are attending an outpatient clinic. Social workers are part of the healthcare team at the hospital.

Connecting to social work services may occur automatically as part of the healthcare team, or through a physician, other staff, a community agency, or directly by the patient family.

Ways a social worker can help


At BC Children’s Hospital and Sunny Hill Health Centre, social workers aim to empower patient families through inclusive care and are focused on applying cultural safety and Indigenous cultural safety to our work. We prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion on the campus.

Social workers act as partners in navigating the complexities of healthcare and community support. We can provide holistic assessments for patient families to support and connect with medical and social resources to facilitate recovery and rehabilitation.

Social workers are committed to fostering understanding, trust, and genuine partnerships with patients and their families to ensure that they are provided with support and resources.

We provide support to families in hospitals or clinics. Social workers at BC Children’s Hospital address key factors such as income, housing, food security, and childhood development. We empower families to overcome barriers to improve overall health for you.

Facilitate family support groups

Social workers may offer support groups within their program for additional psychosocial support, or opportunities for peer support. Social workers may know of, or refer to, other support groups in the community.

Find community resources

A social worker can help find community resources, whether it is for financial, home support or other community supports.

This can take many forms such as: needing a place to stay while a child is receiving treatment, needing financial assistance with practical needs, navigating the hospital or health care system, sorting out how to get community services.

Support during periods of crisis

Medical and mental health conditions can impact the whole family’s well-being. Meeting with the social worker is an opportunity for families to discuss their concerns and stress.

At BC Children’s Hospital and Sunny Hill Health Centre, social workers can assist patient families through difficult times by collaborating in crisis intervention teams and with the community, providing support and counselling. Such difficulties may include medical emergencies, mental health crises, end-of-life care, family conflicts, discharge planning challenges, stress, and burnout.

Social workers support patient families through assessments, safety planning, resource allocation, counselling, and education. We aim to ensure a cohesive healthcare approach by coordinating communication among care teams. Social Workers also collaborate with community agencies for continued support.

When a medical and/or mental health condition leads to a loss, the patient families can experience a range of difficult feelings. This loss is not limited to life-threatening situations, and can encompass many types of losses associated with health struggles. Social workers can assist families to navigate this loss, offering support through individual, family, and group counseling, as well as facilitating access to necessary resources.

Our social workers at BC Children’s Hospital and Sunny Hill Centre for Children are trained at the Masters and Bachelors level from accredited universities and are registered with the BC College of Social Workers.


Because online resources and web addresses change, this section contains information about organizations, funds, and government programs that may be able to assist families. Please search for the organization/fund on your web browser to find the most updated information about these supports.

Pregnancy loss

Bi-weekly (alternate Wednesday) 4:00p.m. - 6:00 p.m. 
Contact: Bertha Cohen (604) 875-3788


Grief & loss

Grief/Loss Support Group through Griefworks BC
Sibling Grief Support Group
Children's Grief Support Group
Teen Grief Support
For more information or to register – contact:
Griefworks BC
(604) 875-2741

Financial Resources

  • Angel Flight of British Columbia
  • Angel Flight East Kootenay
  • Children’s Organ Transplant Society 
  • CKNW Kids’ Fund
  • David Foster Foundation
  • Easter Seals BC and Yukon
  • Friends of Children (Northern BC and East Kootenay)
  • Gizeh Shriners of BC and Yukon
  • Kidney Foundation
  • Variety Club The Children’s Charity
  • War Amps
  • You Are Not Alone (Comox Valley)

Legal Resources

  • Adoption Act 
  • Adult Guardianship Act 
  • Child, Family And Community Service Act 
  • Freedom Of Information And Protection Of Privacy Act 
  • Hospital Act 
  • Infant's Act 
  • Mental Health Act

Government Resources

  • At Home Program
  • BC Ambulance Service 
  • BC Government Directory 
  • Children and Youth with Support Needs
  • Employment Insurance Including:
    • Caregiver Benefits
    • Parental Benefits
    • Sickness Benefits
  • Government Of British Columbia 
  • Medical Services Plan 
  • Ministry Of Children & Family Development 
  • Ministry of Social Development and Innovation
  • Pharmacare 


The organizations and programs listed here can help you find services in your area that meet your needs:

  • BC 211
  • Ability Online 
  • First Call 
  • Mental Health and Substance use Services
Tab Heading
Tab Heading

SOURCE: Social Work ( )
Page printed: . Unofficial document if printed. Please refer to SOURCE for latest information.

Copyright © BC Children's Hospital. All Rights Reserved.

    Copyright © 2024 Provincial Health Services Authority.