New Online Training Helps Internationally Trained Professionals
Lutherwood’s Job Search Workshop program launched a new online platform that allows newcomers to conveniently access pre-employment training at their own pace. Funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, this platform offers interactive content, videos, discussion forums and in-person supports that help participants get a better idea of their profession in Canada, build valuable networking skills, and learn how to best present their professional accomplishments so that they can find and secure meaningful work.
From Hospitals to Community Care
Local emergency departments are experiencing a significant increase in youth with mental health concerns. With LHIN funding, Lutherwood and Grand River Hospital (GRH) are piloting a solution that is demonstrating convincing results. The Emergency Department Diversion Team connects youth who need immediate help but do not require being admitted, to community supports. It also offers beds for GRH’s Child and Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatry (CAIP) unit to discharge youth who need more support as they transition back home. In the first five months, 81 youth were referred to the program reducing emergency wait times while providing appropriate care.
Housing Stability and Ending Chronic Homelessness
For the past year, Lutherwood has been working closely with our community partners to increase housing stability across Waterloo Region. The Housing Resource Centres based in Kitchener and Cambridge saw a combined 8,424 visitors, our Families in Transition Team (FIT) helped re-house 68 families and our PATHS2Home program housed 77 chronically homeless individuals. In addition, Lutherwood is actively seeking more landlord partnerships to generate additional housing options for the chronically homeless population.
The Umbrella Project
Lutherwood is implementing The Umbrella Project within its day treatment program at its Children’s Mental Health Centre. The interactive curriculum teaches the skills of emotional wellbeing including resilience, empathy and kindness. The curriculum will enhance the overall wellbeing and success of Lutherwood’s school program by helping youth learn real life applications of these key skills and generate stories of emotional wellbeing that they can reflect on during difficult times. Already implemented in some Waterloo Region schools, this aligns Lutherwood’s program with those in community schools.
Re-Launching into Life
Safe Haven Youth Services has launched a two-bed pilot program that serves 16-17-year-old youth who can no longer live at home and need support while they learn to live independently. While in program, staff work with the youth to learn life skills while they continue with their schooling and/or employment. Funded exclusively through donations, Lutherwood is evaluating and refining the Life Launch model while seeking operational funding to launch a full program with independent living apartments.
Vulnerable Newcomers Supported Through Pilot Program
Refugees and vulnerable newcomers need help integrating into Waterloo Region’s labour force. Funded by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, Lutherwood launched the Bridges to Work program to focus on one-to-one job search support, credential assessments and language skills training through community referrals. The successful one-year pilot program opened doors and created opportunities for participants to attain sustainable employment. Participants who completed the program reported feeling more motivated and confident in their ability to achieve their long-term employment goals.
Leading Development of a Provincial Business Intelligence System
Lutherwood was chosen as a lead service provider in the Ontario Government’s efforts to provide children’s mental health agencies with enhanced mental health record systems that align data collection with performance metrics. The Client Information System Enhancement Project is now being rolled out province-wide and will allow the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to see who we serve, what services we provide and how well the system is performing. This understanding will inform system change and ultimately improve service experience and outcomes for children and their families.
Better Service Access
When a parent brings a child in for help with their mental health, they need immediate attention. Lutherwood, together with our partners at Carizon, have implemented the Screener+ assessment tool as part of our adoption of the InterRAI Child and Youth Mental Health suite of tools. Screener+ helps us assess, triage and prioritize children and youth entering the mental health system. The program improves our customer experience by reducing the time it takes to do a thorough assessment, improves wait times for high demand services and supports province-wide process standardization with other service areas.
Cooking for Independence
Many of the teenagers who arrive at Safe Haven’s Youth Services have never learned how to cook. Now that the Cooking for Independence program has been introduced at the shelter, meal preparation has become a daily highlight for both youth and staff. Learning to cook healthy meals is an important life skill that helps them build independence, while eating together helps youth open up and build positive relationships. Youth leave the program with an increased knowledge of meal planning, budgeting and healthy eating.