Driving action today that will make a difference tomorrow
- worth it
- within reach.
Chair, Strategic Advisory Council
Strategic plan 2018–21
The Centre is embarking on a bold new strategy designed to channel the momentum for change in child and youth mental health into practical initiatives that will improve service access, experience and outcomes in every community. It’s the kind of change that children, youth and families can feel. Together with our partners, the Centre will set the standard for child and youth mental health services and stand up for an evidence-informed system that makes a real-life difference for people across Ontario. We will make the most of what we know and rapidly close knowledge gaps when they get in the way of effective and accessible services.
The best mental health and wellbeing for every child, youth and family.
We drive high-quality child and youth mental health services by setting the bar for excellence and collaborating with others to pursue continuous quality improvement.
We use our resources wisely and ensure our investments make a difference.
We lead and join candid and evidence-driven conversations about system excellence.
We know our unique strengths, recognize the expertise of partners and work with others to realize our collective vision of excellence.
We seek, embrace and amplify diverse perspectives to inform a high-quality system that works for everyone.
We push the boundaries of the status quo to make room for the extraordinary.
We believe children, youth and families deserve the best and we do what it takes to help them get it.
We keep an eye on the future and make evidence-informed choices that will make the biggest difference for children, youth and families.
The Centre will develop and
publish standards for child and
youth mental health services
The Centre will fund research
to obtain evidence and data that will
inform forthright conversations
about organizational and
The Centre will collaborate
with partners to build an integrated
data strategy for child and
youth mental health.
The Centre will close knowledge gaps
by supporting practical innovation
Build our team
The Centre will adopt an organizational structure that will enable us to deliver excellence while continually tapping into external expertise.
Broaden our impact
Children, youth and families don’t exist in one system — so neither will we. The Centre will diversify our approach to include all organizations that provide child and youth mental health services.
In 2018–2019, the Centre will assemble the building blocks that are necessary to turn our strategic plan into reality.
We will reach out to stakeholders and cross-sectoral partners to co-develop a set of system and research priorities designed to close the most urgent service and knowledge gaps.
We will establish a comprehensive framework for developing standards in child and youth mental health.
We will strengthen existing relationships and establish new connections to support collaboration and collective impact.
We will develop a new performance measurement framework for the Centre and actively participate in a system-wide effort to establish a quality framework for the sector.
In 2017–18, the Centre supported 92 projects designed to strengthen child and youth mental health services in Ontario agencies and communities.
Partnering with families
The Centre partnered with Parents for Children’s Mental Health to help 26 agencies and communities partner with families to improve service planning and delivery.
The Centre’s supports increased agency knowledge about family engagement.
The Centre’s supports increased agency capacity to engage families.
“With ongoing support from the Centre and Parents for Children’s Mental Health, all of our children’s mental health agencies now have their own family engagement groups working to improve services, advise staff and support a family engagement vision for our whole community.”
“We have established a family advisory committee with strong leaders emerging who bring the voice of family to our children’s mental health system.”
Putting youth in the driver's seat
The Centre helped 18 agencies and communities across the province engage youth in service planning and delivery.
The Centre’s supports increased agency knowledge about youth engagement.
The Centre’s supports increased agency capacity to engage youth.
“Our work with the Centre has helped the agency move towards a more informed and cohesive model of working with youth. Youth engagement is a shift in thinking about the way we work with youth, and our agency has seen that shift within several of its units. The Youth Engagement training was one of the best ways to highlight youth engagement, what it is and what it means, and a training that we still reflect on to this day.”
“I feel we are more responsive to youth needs and interests (more youth friendly). We consult with youth regularly and have a more formal process for doing this than in the past. Youth are more able to shape the services that are provided at Skylark.”
Building a culture of quality
The Centre provided quality improvement or evaluation support to 21 agencies and communities across the province.
The Centre provided performance measurement support to five agencies and communities.
The Centre provided implementation support to five agencies and communities.
The Centre’s supports increased agency knowledge about quality and performance.
The Centre’s supports increased agency capacity to improve quality and performance.
“Our team worked closely with Centre staff to apply Lean principles to a service stream within our organization. Clients attending our walk-in service have had several direct impact outcomes: more user-friendly paperwork, shorter wait times, support of a volunteer host and a redesigned waiting area. This experience was not only helpful in practical terms, as far as improving quality services, but helped embed the importance of quality improvement processes with our staff team.”
“After receiving support from the Centre, we were better able as a group to set our direction and goals for the short term and outline and measure the achievements.”
Community-based suicide prevention and life promotion
The Centre provided youth suicide prevention, risk management, postvention and life promotion coaching to 17 Ontario communities.
The Centre’s supports increased community knowledge about youth suicide prevention.
The Centre’s supports increased community capacity to collaborate across sectors and mobilize to prevent youth suicide.
“We have since been able to facilitate gatekeeper training initiatives and connect with other communities the Centre has worked with to gain expertise and advice on their approaches. Overall, we are a lot better off as your support has fostered our ability to share knowledge and expertise, assess our community's needs and take new approaches that otherwise would not have been possible.”
Tackling system challenges together
System change is always hard, but it’s even more complicated when the system is made up of dozens of individual micro-systems — each doing their very best to support the children, youth and families they serve in a slightly different way. Meaningful change depends on our ability to collaborate, learn from each other and align our activities to deliver maximum value to Ontarians, no matter where they live.
This year, the Centre continued to coordinate and facilitate the hard work of Ontario’s lead agency community of practice — a group of operational leaders from every region of the province. Together, we made significant progress towards overcoming fundamental barriers to building a truly provincial system of evidence-informed, accessible and effective child and youth mental health services in Ontario.
Common definitions of six core services and a shared commitment to applying them consistently to support meaningful data collection and monitoring.
- Targeted prevention
- Brief services
- Counselling and therapy services
- Family capacity building and support
- Specialized consultation and assessment
- Crisis support services
- Intensive treatment services
A revitalized process for integrated community mental health planning across the province, drawing on reliable data and cross-sectoral partnerships to reduce duplication and identify service gaps that require strategic investments — a standardized approach with enough flexibility to meet the unique needs of Ontario’s diverse population and geography.
Centre supports have helped the lead agency community of practice members pursue common goals.
The lead agency community of practice agrees that it is a productive venue for collaborative problem-solving.
“The level of support from the Centre was very high, and absolutely critical to our achievement.”
(Member of the lead agency community of practice)
Youth wellness hubs Ontario
Youth wellness hubs are walk-in centres where young people ages 12 to 25 can get one-stop access to the mental health and addictions services they need. Services include mental health assessments, treatment for addictions and substance use, therapy and counselling, peer and family support and referrals to health care providers, including psychiatrists. Primary care, education, employment and housing services are also available, all under one youth-friendly roof.
In May 2018, the Ontario government announced the locations of six new youth wellness hubs, and we couldn't be more excited to work with our partners at CAMH and its Provincial System Support Program to provide support to these important initiatives.
New youth wellness hub locations:
- Eastern Champlain (Cornwall area)
- North Simcoe
- Niagara Region
These new hubs will join four existing sites — three in Toronto and one in Chatham-Kent.
Assessing data capacity
In spring 2017, we asked lead agencies about their ability to generate, manage and use high-quality data to inform service planning and delivery. All agencies participated, and we examined their reported capacity in four elements of an effective data framework: infrastructure, human resources, processes and decision making.
The Centre will continue this work in 2018–19, launching training and resources designed to fill knowledge gaps and enhance data capacity across the province.
Survey data says Ontario lead agencies fall across the data capacity continuum:
- 38% are building foundations
- 31% have some, but not all, of the ingredients for success
- 31% report doing well and getting better all the time
The number of agencies that reported having access to the right people or processes to enable data-driven decisions
There are more than 600,000 francophones in Ontario and that number is rising. So why is it so hard to find and access high-quality, culturally appropriate services in French? The Centre examined the issue in Pourquois pas?, a policy-ready paper designed to explore the unique needs and strengths of Ontario’s francophone populations and identify ways to improve French-language service delivery within the evolving child and youth mental health system. The goal of achieving accessible and effective services is within our grasp, and we can make equity a reality — un fait accompli. Pourquoi pas?
Paving the path to connected care
The family doctor’s office is often the first stop for families looking for mental health support for a child or youth, but it often isn’t the best place for them to get the help they need. Too many families fall into the gap between primary care settings and community-based mental health services, preventing timely access to effective support.
In May 2017, the Centre released Paving the path to connected care, a policy-ready paper that has since inspired pilot projects in two Ontario communities. Using the HEADS-ED standardized screening tool, family physicians in Sault Ste. Marie and Toronto can rapidly assess the mental health needs of their patients and confidently direct them to the most appropriate community-based services.
Mental health in the early years
- 2,190 days
- 52,560 minutes
- 3,153,600 seconds
- More than a million new neural connections each second
- = Infinite possibilities
In February 2018, a record number of participants joined us as we examined the continually evolving evidence on mental health and well-being in our smallest people. With a focus on the first six years of life, this symposium explored the early years as the foundation for life-long mental health and resilience.
Quality state of mind
In October 2017, nearly 100 child and youth mental health leaders came together in Ottawa for Illuminate, Innovate, Inspire — our first-ever quality improvement learning symposium. Attendees heard from experts, connected with one another and took home practical tools and resources they can use to build a culture of quality in their organizations.
“Thank you so much for all you do. You offer an exceptional resource in so many ways.”
“I have attended all your symposiums, and though I enjoyed the others, you hit this one out of the park!”
“Thank you for supporting our team in our quality improvement journey. I feel more prepared to provide leadership in QI at my agency.”
Changing the game
The Centre's Innovation Initiatives are designed to help Ontario's child and youth mental health changemakers turn their bold ideas into potential solutions for some of our sector's trickiest challenges. These grants provide up to $50,000 to try new things, collaborate in non-traditional ways, test promising ideas and stretch the boundaries of existing evidence to improve the quality and accessibility of child and youth mental health services in Ontario.
This year, the Centre supported the ongoing work of six grant recipients from the inaugural Innovation Initiatives competition and announced 10 new projects funded in March 2018.
2017–2018 Innovation Initiatives
Number of projects: 6
Carizon family and community services, Kitchener
Evaluating alternatives to residential treatment programs:
Child Development Institute, Toronto
Implementation of Integra therapeutic martial arts: Bringing together children’s mental health and education to address challenges with emotion regulation in the school setting
Cornwall Community Hospital, Cornwall
Taking youth engagement to the next level in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry
Crossroads Children's Centre, Ottawa
School-based kindergarten pilot project
Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, Windsor
A systematic, evidence-based and collaborative approach to streamline the crisis continuum for child and youth mental health in Windsor-Essex county
Kinark Child and Family Services, Markham
Validation of a new standardized residential assessment tool
2018–2019 Innovation Initiatives
Number of projects: 10
East Metro Youth Services, Toronto
Improving access to high-quality, culturally relevant treatment for East Asian Canadian youth
Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, Windsor
Collaborating to develop an early intervention to foster better mental health outcomes for children of parents with a mental illness
London Family Court Clinic, London
Coming of Age
Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre, Grey-Bruce
Holistic arts-based program
Vanier Children’s Services, London
Infant mental health clinics in community hubs
Cornwall Community Hospital, Cornwall
Leveraging strong ties between primary care, addictions, mental health and child welfare to optimize bonding in high-risk infants
African-Canadian youth support
Chatham-Kent Children's Services, Chatham
HandsTheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca, North Bay
Virtual walk-in clinic for youth
Lynwood Charlton Centre, Hamilton
Managing waitlists with an interactive webinar-enhanced information and system navigation platform
Youth helping youth
When faced with mental health challenges, many youth say they would confide in a friend before telling a parent or health care professional. There is also growing evidence that effective peer support programs can play a critical role in the ongoing recovery of youth experiencing mental illness. In 2017–18, the Centre partnered with youth and Ottawa’s Community Suicide Prevention Network to co-develop a nine-part video series designed to introduce young people to the benefits and challenges of peer support and help them navigate a healthy peer support relationship.
The video series will be available in English and French in September 2018.
- Salaries and benefits: $3,061,843
- Rent and administration: $753,305
- Innovation initiatives: $731,726
- Provincial learning events: $430,679
- Purchased services: $231,508
- Staff travel and accommodations: $229,037
- Office supplies and expenses: $187,465
- Communication and translation: $118,408
- Dare to dream: $115,904
- Staff training and development: $40,125
A look ahead
This year, the Centre will be redeveloping our online presence, and we’re going to need your help. In fall 2018, look for opportunities to let us know how we can build a website that works for you.
Data capacity resources and training
The Centre is looking forward to helping fill the gaps identified in our 2017 assessment of data capacity across the child and youth mental health sector. In a series of training events and resources, we will share knowledge designed to help agencies generate, manage and use high-quality data to support evidence-informed service planning and delivery.
Happy birthday to us!
In 2019, the Centre will celebrate 15 years of supporting the evidence-informed evolution of Ontario’s child and youth mental health sector. We’ve come a long way together, but this is no time to slow down. Look for a few special initiatives that reflect on our successes, and examine what they’ve taught us about where to go next.
Closing knowledge gaps
Excellence is a journey, not a destination. That’s why the Centre is committed to stretching the boundaries of existing knowledge, identifying gaps in the evidence and supporting practical research to inform continuous service and system improvement. This year, we will consult with experts and partners to establish a focused agenda that will tackle some of the most pressing challenges in child and youth mental health.
Setting the standard for engagement
Achieving service and system excellence is impossible without the meaningful engagement of Ontario children, youth and families. Agencies across the province have embraced the concepts of meaningful family and youth engagement and are pursuing a wide range of activities designed to integrate service users in everything they do. In 2018–19, the Centre will work with partners to identify engagement practices that work, and move forward with a standard for engagement that can be applied consistently across the province.