Progress Report - July 2016
Dear Community Partner:
Since our February Lead Agency Progress Update, the Lead Agency Advisory Council has made considerable progress on the transformation of Waterloo Region’s children’s mental health system.
Change is Happening
Last year, the Lead Agency Advisory Council (LAAC) created a Priority Roadmap which identified three key priorities (Awareness, Access and Family Support) along with associated actions needed to achieve these priorities. Early this year, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) provided funding for several of these initiatives to address some immediate community-based mental health service pressures. Below we have highlighted a representative sample of some of these initiatives:
To support parents who are parenting children identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or questioning, KW Counselling developed a curriculum for four specific parenting workshops. Each one was delivered in two, two-hour segments and attracted more than 40 parents. The purpose of the workshops was to offer practical and relevant information and strategies to help parents support their children. These workshops will be incorporated into their regular Parenting with Passion schedule.
To add assessment capacity, Family and Children’s Services received funding for additional assessments for children who have been sexually abused as well as psychological assessments for children in their care to improve their chances of success. The agency also received funding to pilot the Young Men’s Group in collaboration with the Male Allies Program, Sexual Assault Centre of Waterloo Region. This program was a group designed for vulnerable male youth who have engaged in or are at risk of engaging in abusive behaviours or relationships.
To help parents in rural communities, Wilmot Family Resource Centre worked with Interfaith Counselling Centre to offer four social and resiliency-based groups to children in combination with parent education sessions and ongoing monthly support groups for parents supporting children struggling with mental health or substance use. The agencies also worked with local youth to develop a wallet card for youth that offers resources and contact information in case they or a friend are in need of support.
To help meet the increasing demand for intensive treatment services, Langs increased the length of time available to support youth enrolled in their 7th Inning day treatment mental health program.
Improving Access to Child and Youth Mental Health Services
In our public consultations last summer, the need to reduce wait times and offer more immediate service for children and youth was highlighted. In response, Carizon and Lutherwood made changes to their Front Door program to help more families and decrease service wait times. During walk-in counselling hours, children, youth and their families can walk in without an appointment to receive immediate tips and strategies to try. Where needed, a plan for additional counselling sessions or more intensive services can also be set in place. Offering these up front services along with the recent addition of Saturday walk-in hours has enabled Front Door to help up to 40 children and youth each week while reducing wait times for full assessments and more intensive services from ten months to approximately one month.
Thank you for your continued interest in our community work. If you have any suggestions or questions about our lead agency work, please contact Randy Penney, Director, Lead Agency, at email@example.com or 519-884-1470 x1221.