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Planning and delivering system transformation side-by-side with families

Saturday, January 28, 2017Heather Ennis

The Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health and Parents for Children’s Mental Health are proud to announce a new partnership that puts more family engagement support and expertise within reach of child and youth mental health agencies all across the province.

Together, our organizations have introduced a team of family engagement regional leads to work alongside the Centre’s knowledge brokers to support meaningful and long-lasting family engagement across the system – from planning to evaluation. The leads are experts in practices of family engagement and have experience navigating the children’s mental health system and working with organizations to develop meaningful engagement, processes and activities. Ultimately their work will grow a provincial network of families to inform transformation at the system level.

A few examples of how the family engagement regional leads can help:

  • Work with agency leadership and staff to build a firm foundation for meaningful and sustained family engagement practice.
  • Support key family engagement processes, including recruiting, consultation, co-creation and evaluation.
  • Identify and make the most of opportunities to harness meaningful family engagement to strengthen agency and community initiatives.
  • Provide a constant link to a provincial network of family engagement expertise agencies can tap in to strengthen their work.
  • Amplify the impact of existing activities by supporting family engagement staff with expertise and advice related to the family experience AND the evidence-informed practice of family engagement

No matter where you are on the family engagement roadmap, the family engagement regional leads (and the Centre) are here to help. To get started, contact your Centre knowledge broker or OR PCMH at

Meet the family engagement regional leads

Diane Patterson
Essex · Middlesex · Halidmand-Norfolk · Brant · Chatham-Kent · Lambton
Diane has worked in social services for the past 20 years including working as a child and youth worker and currently as a social service worker. She has accumulated experience in children’s mental health, the criminal justice system for young offenders, violence prevention, education and violence against women. With her two children, Diane has experienced the isolating journey of parenting invisible disabilities and navigating multiple systems in search of mental health support.

Angela Sider
Hamilton · Huron-Perth · Elgin/Oxford · Halton · Peel · Waterloo · Dufferin/Wellington · Simcoe
Angela is a family engagement trainer, advocate and active participant on several committees supporting children and youth in her community and has a Master of Arts in Leadership. Angela brings extensive experience in specialized treatment programs that support people with dual diagnosis (developmental disability and mental health). She brings lived experience as a parent of two internationally adopted children, both struggling with mental health diagnoses.

Brandi Gowan
Grey/Bruce · Kingston/Frontenac/Lennox/Addington · Hastings/Prince Edward/Northumberland · Algoma · Thunder Bay · Nipissing/Parry Sound/Muskoka
Brandi is the founder of the Owen Sound chapter of Parents for Children’s Mental Health. She has participated in review panels and consultations for the Ministry of Children and Youth, she is a board member of Keystone Child, Youth & Family Services and is a family engagement trainer. Brandi understands the reality of accessing services in rural Ontario. She has navigated the youth mental health system of Ontario while raising four children, one of whom suffers from severe mental illness.


Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health

695 Industrial Avenue, Ottawa Ontario, K1G 0Z1
Tel.: 613-737-2297   Fax: 613-738-4894


Please note: We do not provide mental health advice, counselling or treatment.
If you, or if someone you know is in crisis right now, please call the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.

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