Progress Update - April 2018
Dear Community Partner,
The Lead Agency Advisory Council (LAAC) continues to make progress as it plans and implements changes to the child and youth mental health system in Waterloo Region.
Implementing a Standardized Assessment Tool
Families have long been frustrated by the need to re-describe their situation each time they move to another program or service. As a result, Carizon, Langs and Lutherwood have implemented InterRAI’s (International Residential Assessment Instrument) ChYMH (Children and Youth Mental Health) assessment tool which allows service providers to share information with family consent. We are now working with Family and Children’s Services of Waterloo Region and other core service providers to do the same. The ChYMH tool has an added benefit of gathering data to make better-informed treatment plans and better assess service quality. Many thanks to RBC Foundation for its $150,000 grant through the Lutherwood Child and Family Foundation to support other core service providers as they implement this tool.
Easing the Transition to Adult Services
Historically, youth accessing Ontario’s mental health and addiction supports have struggled with the transition to adult services. In Waterloo Region, Lutherwood, CMHA WW and other community partners collaborated to develop a Transition Aged Youth (TAY) Mental Health and Addictions protocol to support a more seamless transition for youth accessing adult services. The TAY protocol will also be a great resource for youth and staff at our partner agencies.
Alternatives to Residential Services for Younger Children
Last year, Carizon consulted with community agencies as well as youth and families to develop its new family-centred model of service delivery for children under 12 years of age. The “home and community” based model was built to address specific needs identified by people in our community. This model offers a flexible menu of services, individualized planning, specialized assessment, flexible respite options and the ability to adjust service intensity as family needs change. An evaluation component, supported by internal resources and a partnership with Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health is being built into the delivery structure.
Setting the Stage for System Transformation
In 2017, Taylor Newberry Consulting completed an environmental scan to provide the LAAC with a better understanding of the children’s mental health service system in Waterloo Region (including agencies not funded by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services). The resulting report identifies strengths, gaps and opportunities for transforming our system. In November, Council held a full-day session to explore the report’s findings and revise its priorities for the next few years. The lead agency will continue to work with core service providers and the broader community to advance these priorities and address the report’s recommendations, and will offer an update in the next Lead Agency Progress Report.
Family Support and Resources
The lead agency, Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health and Parent’s for Children’s Mental Health have drafted a family engagement plan to embed family engagement principles into service planning and delivery. As a first step, we hosted a Family Engagement Literacy Workshop on March 29 for children’s mental health service providers to develop a shared definition of family engagement and begin developing a strategy to embed family engagement practices into individual agencies and the broader system.
A New Online Tool for Families and Youth
The Children and Youth Planning Table (service providers who work with children, youth and families in Waterloo Region) and Developmental Services Resource Centre (DSRC) have launched FamilyCompassWR.ca. Created by a working group of local service providers including a lead agency representative, the website supports both Moving on Mental Health and the Special Needs Strategy, and offers families and youth a starting point to find and navigate local activities and services for children and youth, as well as specialized services that can help address developmental concerns including emerging mental health issues.
Thank you to the many individuals and community partners that continue to support this important community work. If you have any suggestions or questions, please contact Heather Fedy, Director, Mental Health Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-884-1470 x1220.