the Pope given to the Notre Dame Child Guidance Clinic, Liverpool, has now been handed in at the Vatican for
acceptance by His Holiness.
The portrait of himself surrounded by children. together with an autographed blessing, was sent by him to Sister Beatrice. S.N.D., who runs the clinic. to signify his appreciation when. some months ago. the work of the clinic was brought to his notice.
Founded 16 years ago, the clinic is the only one of its kind in England and Wales conducted completely under Catholic
auspices. It is closely linked with a similar clinic in Glasgow, and both are under the care and direction of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
The Notre Dame Child Guidance Clinic originally opened in the summer of 1942 as a voluntary and part-time clinic attached to Mount Pleasant Training College for teachers. Much help was given by Sister Marie Hilda, S.N.D., of the Glasgow Clinic, a pioneer in child guidance in the United Kingdom,
The original staff consisted of an honorary psychiatrist and an educational psychologist qualified in social work. Cases were referred to the clinic mainly by parents, general practitioners, and head teachers.
Early the following year, Mgr. Canon John Bennett. who is in charge of child welfare in the archdiocese, visited the clinic and expressed his willingness to assist substantially in expanding the work. Thus a part-time voluntary experiment became a fully established permanent institution capable of considerable extension. The present separate premises in Maryland Street were acquired and the clinic re-opened with a fulltime salaried staff under the auspices of the Liverpool Catholic Children's Protection Society. Playrooms were established in the basement of the Gorgian house, an the attics were converted into rooms for remedial teaching.
At the time, this was the only child guidance clinic in Liverpool and children were accepted for treatment irrespective of creed.
In 1944 an agreement was reached with the sanction of the Ministry of Education by which the Liverpool authority could refer children to the clinic, and soon the Lancashire and Cheshire County authorities followed suit. Under the provisions of the Health Act, when the ascertainment and treatment of maladjusted children became the responsibility of the local authority, the work expanded tremendously.
Pending the establishment of a full service under the national scheme, the Liverpool Regional Hospital Board arranged to use the Notre Dame clinic by an agreement which lasted until 1954. In that year the clinic. at the request of Liverpool University, undertook the practical training in child guidance of first year students in the new Mental Health Course.
The scope of the clinic includes all that is understood by child guidance since the term was first used in this country, or that may now be undertaken by child psychiatric centres and by educational clinics. A thorough investigation is made of the individual problem by various members of the staff, and a decision reached at a case conference regarding treatment.
In addition to individual or group psychotherapy and play therapy, there are sessions for occupational therapy, speech therapy and remedial teaching, while a professional social worker and an assistant hold regular sessions with the parents. A newly developing service with the clinic is examining and reporting on children considered for adoption.
200 A YEAR
Over the last 10 years the average number of new cases seen during a year is 200. Roughly two thirds of these come from the city of Liverpool, and the remainder from neighbouring areas.
Children of all classes and denominations are accepted, and of all ages from babyhood to the teens if the clinic can offer the help they need. The work at 2 Maryland Street is directed by Sister Beatrice, S.N.D., a graduate in psychology of London University.