your generosity. our support. their future



The OSNS Child & Youth Development Centre was established in 1978 to provide treatment services for children with developmental disabilities in the South Okanagan and Similkameen. The impetus to developing the Centre was the clinical need recognized by the founding paediatrician Dr. Barbara Moss and her colleague Dr. Patrick Melton. The services have since grown and expanded and as of 1996, we have been located beside Penticton Regional Hospital in a purpose built centre that was spearheaded by previous Executive Director, Ms. Judy Sentes and was built with funding from charitable donations.


The OSNS has seen success and growth because of the generous support of the community at large. However, the annual fundraising dollars raised through the Telethon and other fundraising events is unpredictable. The need to fundraise is a large burden of time and energy on the clinical team members and the Executive Director whose time could be better spent on treatment services and additional quality improvement projects. To secure a more stable financial base for ongoing operating costs and ensure a state-of-the-art facility with equipment that meets the children’s needs, we have formed a separate endowment fund 

How We Started

Community Need and How the OSNS Works....

Rehabilitation for neurological disorders is part of medical care, but unlike the Adult Rehabilitation services which are funded mostly through the Ministry of Health of BC and distributed through hospital programs, these medically needed services for children have been funded through the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Such funding of services in BC for Child Development Centres is through competitive grants and contracts, usually renewed on an annual basis. The funds provided are targeted to providing salaries to the staff who give direct treatment care to children. There is no provision in the funding for maintenance or expansion of the building, or for the operating budget to implement new initiatives, or to provide equipment. A hospital has the ability to ask the Ministry of Health for equipment needs and is given funding for operating costs.


This funding gap in rehabilitation services for children has resulted in the ongoing need for community fundraising to meet the costs of running a Child Development Centre and contributes to the waiting list for treatment services. This despite the increasing awareness and categorical literature evidence that Early Childhood intervention makes life changing positive outcomes for these children. Many of the interventions are hands on skills and thoughtful approaches that do not require an extensive outlay on sophisticated equipment, but rather go to providing a welcoming, safe and sensitive but physically challenging environment.

Why the OSNS Legacy Foundation is So Important

Charitable donations will enable the OSNS Child Development Centre to be a secure and sustainable network of support for families and children of the South Okanagan Similkameen. The Foundation will ensure treatment for our most vulnerable children paving the path to their success

Simply stated: The goal of the Foundation is to grow sufficient funds to provide an annual interest income that covers the operating costs of the OSNS

Autism Programs at OSNS

Autism services at OSNS offer evidenced based intensive treatment and support for families. The Autism Intervention Program has been expanded to include sessions for older children and youth who benefit from social community and social negotiation skill building programs outside of the school system. The goal of this program is that "Everyone will have a friend".

OSNS Child Development Centre also houses Kinderplace preschool and KinderBear Daycare where the younger children with special needs are integrated with normally developing peers. This extensive childcare program has been growing and has space for infants and children with special needs who cannot be accommodated in typical childcare facilities. The OSNS childcare programs were chosen to participate in the government subsidized $10/day prototype service delivery model.

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Preschool and Daycare at OSNS

What we do at the OSNS

At the OSNS, staff work in partnership with paediatricians to provide treatment in the areas of: Speech and Language Pathology, Occupational and Physiotherapy, Behaviour Therapy, Psychology, Autism Treatment, Family Support Services and Parent Education. In 2018, OSNS supported 1629 children and their families. Pediatricians assess and follow the children for medical diagnoses (paid for by the Ministry of Health under the Medical Services Plan), but treatment plans and interventions are predominantly implemented at the Child Development Centre.


Children’s developmental disabilities are widely varied encompassing physical disabilities (e.g. birth injury causing localized or more generalized muscle and nerve damage, commonly known as cerebral palsy), delays in acquiring language skills, mental deficiencies and handicaps (e.g. Downs syndrome and autism). Once the disability is recognized and diagnosed medically, a wide array of allied health services and skills are needed to help children reach their full potential. Generally, families are unable to meet the costs to procure these services privately and the staff themselves need to have specialized training to be capable of assessing and treating children.

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