Transforming the children’s mental health system is a huge undertaking. It involves a system-wide perspective, an understanding of pressures and resources, the collaboration of multiple agencies, a collective vision, and the dedication to complete the work. When the Ministry of Children and Youth Services selected Lutherwood as Lead Agency, Lutherwood formed a Council of decision-makers from local service partners to be responsible for the planning of, access to and quality of child and youth mental health services in Waterloo Region. The Lead Agency Advisory Council (LAAC) works through Lutherwood to make recommendations to the Ministry on how to maintain and develop the local system.
These are just a few of the many projects the LAAC has moved on to improve the system:
"It is exciting to see our local child and youth mental health system improving as a result of community partners, government, parents and youth working together." — Heather Fedy, Director of Operations, Mental Health Services
- Setting the Stage for System Transformation - The LAAC hired Taylor Newberry Consulting to provide a better understanding of Waterloo Region’s extensive children’s mental health services. The resulting report identifies strengths, gaps and opportunities that are now guiding the LAAC’s plans and efforts.
- Implementing Standardized Assessment - Families get frustrated by the need to repeatedly describe their situation each time they move to another program or agency. Lutherwood, Carizon, Langs and other agencies are implementing an assessment tool which allows local service providers to share information with family consent and improve their intake experience.
- Easing the Transition to Adult Services - Youth using Ontario’s mental health and addiction supports often struggle with the transition into adult services. In Waterloo Region, Lutherwood, CMHA-WW and other community partners have developed a protocol that is supporting a more seamless transition.
- Alternatives to Live-In Services for Younger Children - Last year, Carizon closed its live-in program and worked with LAAC, community agencies, youth and families to develop a family-centred, home and community-based approach to mental health service delivery for children under 12 years of age.
- Cambridge-based Support Group - Parents for Children’s Mental Health (PCMH) worked with Langs to launch its third support group within Waterloo Region.
- Increased Access to Services for Syrian Refugees - An Arabic speaking therapist was hired at KW Counselling Services to increase access to individual and family counselling, parenting education, and walk-in counselling services for Syrian refugees.
- Convenient Online Access - LAAC supported the Children and Youth Planning Table and Developmental Services Resource Centre’s development of FamilyCompassWR.ca to provide families and youth with online access to local activities, programs and specialized services.