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Field Notes

Field Notes

Winter 2011

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A new year, new focus and new name!

Charting the Course
Ontario's Ministry of Children and Youth Services has entrusted the Centre with a fresh mandate: to build the capacity of service professionals to understand and use evidence-informed practices to improve outcomes. During the next six years, the Centre will focus on delivering programs and activities designed to foster the sharing and use of knowledge in the daily practice of front-line service providers. Our new strategic plan outlines three key strategic priorities:

Foster a culture of organizational learning to support agencies in using evidence to improve client outcomes.

Build and develop collaborative partnerships to sustain capacity within mental health services.

Be a true learning organization and lead by example.

Today, January 27, 2011, the Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health at Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario becomes the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health. The new name is shorter and articulates the name 'Ontario' which clarifies our geographic scope of service. Based on many discussions with stakeholder groups, we've also refreshed our visual identity. Our new logo 'borrows' design elements from the original 'bonhomme' friendly figures and communicates a message of youthful energy, forward motion and momentum. We're pleased to offer you many new communication materials, information channels, a new website, and engagement opportunities which will illustrate our refreshed and rejuvenated Centre brand.

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Centre Leadership

Introducing the Centre's new Advisory Committee

L to R [standing back row] – Ian Manion, Camille Quenneville, Bertrand Guindon, Alexandra Fortier, Morley Burwash, Dwight Syms (co=chair), Darryl Fillmore, Peter Moore, Kevin Bérubé, Jeffrey Hawkins

L to R [standing middle row] – Gloria Chaim, Sarah Cannon, Gaby Wass, Wendi Waters (Rodic), Marion Wright, Michelle Bates (co-chair), Simon Davidson

L to R [sitting front row] – Bindu Elizabeth Prasad, Sarah Kibblewhite, Amber Thomas, Alyse Schacter, Nancy Pereira

Missing from photo – Karen Tataryn, Ewa Deszynski, Kathryn Bennett


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Program News

Planning Evaluation Grant Meeting

The Evaluation and Research team held a meeting on November 5, 2010 in Toronto which brought together 19 child and youth mental health agencies from across Ontario, which are recipients of the Centre's 2010-2011 Planning Evaluation Grant program. Grant recipients engaged in valuable networking, learned lessons from past grant recipients and their experiences, and discovered the Centre's many support tools available for building capacity for evaluation activities. Feedback from the day was overwhelmingly positive and the team looks forward to more opportunities to consult with these agencies this winter.

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Upcoming applications for Planning and Doing Evaluation Grants

Are you interested in learning if your program makes a difference? Would you like to build your knowledge and skills on evaluation? The Centre will be awarding grants to organizations interested in:

  • developing an evaluation framework
  • building the skills and knowledge for doing a full-scale evaluation of a child and youth mental health program

Interested agencies should contact one of the Centre's research associates who will begin conducting readiness assessments in March 2011 for the next round of Planning and Doing Evaluation Grants. Information will be posted on our website along with deadlines for completing both the readiness assessment and the application. The expected application deadline will be June 1, 2011.

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Learning From You: Community Consultations

Evidence-informed practices: Needs of the francophone community
On November 30, the Centre met with 20 members of Ontario’s francophone mental health service to hear about their experiences with evidence informed-practices. The meeting was an opportunity for participants to learn from each other, identify their needs, and receive an update on the Centre’s new mandate and strategic directions. 

Mylène Dault, the Centre’s Director of Knowledge Exchange, facilitated the session. She says the discussion was lively and insightful. “All of the participants were happy to be there and were fully engaged. We learned a great deal about some of the challenges these service providers face in their daily work.”

Here’s a summary of what was heard.

  • Lack of francophone service providers makes implementing evidence-informed practices very difficult.
  • Knowledge is not always available in French, so this is a role that the Centre could play.
  • There is an identified need for a common understanding and definition of the term “evidence-informed practice.”
  • Perceptions of evidence-informed practice are still linked to research evidence and not as much to experiential evidence; the Centre’s new direction will help change this perspective.
  • Francophone agencies are keen about the Centre’s new initiatives and look forward to working more closely with us.

Evidence-informed practices: A leader’s perspective
On December 14, the Centre held a second community consultation with agencies that are considered to be leaders in implementing evidence-informed practices across the province. These agencies have strengths in program evaluation, research, and organizational change. The Centre recognizes the value of learning from agencies who are “ahead of the curve,” as they have unique insights into the child and youth mental health system in Ontario. “Their perspective is based on experience,” explains Mylène Dault, “as they have worked through what it takes to move their organizational culture and practices forward. We see great benefit in what they can share with us.”

Some of the important lessons from this session:

  • There are many stories of success and failure, and it often comes down to organizational culture and readiness to change.
  • Change needs to occur within a sector context, not just in agencies.
  • Many agencies are struggling with basic evaluation capacity to collect, store, and analyze data.
  • Evidence-informed practice does not guarantee that all children will be treated successfully, but those that don’t respond to treatment give us opportunities to learn and to adapt treatment.
  • Ontario needs a system to integrate and share treatment and outcomes data.
  • The Centre should support common platforms, vocabularies, group learning, and group development.
  • The Centre should showcase and celebrate successes in Ontario.

Moving forward
The two sessions provided a great deal of valuable information that the Centre can now use in planning its programs and activities. Two more consultation sessions – one for Aboriginal communities and one for multi-cultural communities – are planned for 2011.

From more information about the Centre’s consultation meetings, please contact Tracey MacLaurin at

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Evidence In-Sight – a free consultative service

Does your organization have a question about evidence-informed practices? Evaluation? Knowledge exchange and sharing stories? Need help in exploring opportunities for change? Wonder what the buzz is about “learning organizations?”

Evidence In-Sight is a free service offered by the Centre of Excellence. It’s designed to help agencies find evidence and information, evaluate their programs, identify opportunities to shift programming, and share their experiences. Our focus is on fostering the use of evidence-informed practices and learning organization models. Working collaboratively with your agency, we help you:

  • Explore organizational awareness
  • Discover options for evidence-based programs and practices
  • Evaluate your organization’s programs and reflect on findings
  • Move to implement best-practice initiatives
  • Share experiences, successes and lessons learned

Evidence In-Sight will be pilot-tested in spring 2011 with a representative sample of agencies across Ontario. A comprehensive project evaluation framework will track our activities and impact. The service will be formally rolled out in April 2011.

For further details contact Charles Carter at

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Evidence In-Sight – Call for Experts

We are seeking people experienced in a wide range of subjects, including change management, implementation, clinical practice, community mobilization, evidence synthesis, and more. Content and practice experts come from front-line agencies, research departments, hospitals, community organizations, universities, and elsewhere. They include psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, researchers, family representatives, youth representatives, and others with a well-developed understanding from experience and work.

For experts, this is an opportunity to be featured in Centre of Excellence publications, to develop linkages with peers and networks, and in some cases to be remunerated for their work. For agencies, it is an efficient and effective way to receive input and advice from others who understand their situation.

For further information about the Evidence In-Sight expert pool, or to put forward your name or recommend another individual, please contact Charles Carter, Research Associate at

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Gathering Ground 2011: Building relationships, strengthening care

In keeping with its new mandate, the Centre of Excellence is hosting a series of interactive meetings in early 2011 called “Gathering Ground.” These one-and-a-half-day events are geared to front-line service providers and are designed as an alternative to the usual regional meetings.

The Gathering Ground series will take a highly participatory approach, engaging participants through lively discussions with peers, collaborative information-sharing, and interactive workshops. There will also be many opportunities for networking.

On the Gathering Ground agenda:

  • Workshops on evidence-informed practice – why EIP is important, how it can be implemented, what service providers need to make it work, and how EIP can be used to make a difference in the mental health outcomes of children and youth
  • Discussions on change management and organizational readiness
  • Opportunities for service providers to tell their stories and share promising practices
  • Brainstorming on how to maximize knowledge-sharing between agencies, regions, and Ontario’s Ministry of Children and Youth Services
  • Strategies for engaging youth
  • Discussions on ways and means to better understand the mental health needs of children and youth in our communities
  • Opportunities for participants to hear how the Centre is moving forward with its mandate and strategic directions, including results of the recent province-wide needs assessment
  • Networking – building relationships between peers, agencies and experts in the field

The invitations for these Gathering Ground events and the “Call for Presentations” will be sent out in January 2011.

The events will be held on the following dates:

  • April 13-14, 2011 in Mississauga at the Delta Meadowvale Hotel
  • April 27-28, 2011 in Ottawa at the Delta Ottawa Hotel
  • May   4-5, 2011 in London at the Hilton London Hotel
  • May 19-20, 2011 in Sudbury at the Radisson Hotel

For more information, contact Tracey MacLaurin – Knowledge Exchange Project Officer at or at 613-737-7600 x3732.

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Ontario youth take part in Med Ed training

Over the past three years, the Centre has held a series of training sessions for mental health professionals, teaching them how to use Med Ed tools to support children and youth when using psychotropic medications. The response has been overwhelmingly positive; to date, hundreds of Med Ed resources have been distributed across the province and over 50 service providers been formally trained in Med Ed.

On November 20, the Centre held its first Med Ed training workshop specifically for young people. With the support of their service providers, a total of 23 youth from across Ontario travelled to Ottawa for a day-long, interactive training session, where they were:

  • provided with facts to help them better understand medications related to mental illness
  • given the opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer session with a local psychiatrist
  • introduced to the Med Ed tool and its uses; and
  • educated on how to train others to use the tool. 

Evaluation feedback has indicated that the training was engaging, informative and a great success!

Med Ed changing hands
Going forward, Med Ed training will no longer be an activity sponsored or organized by the Centre of Excellence. Future phases of this product will be managed by Med Ed's original developers: Dr. Stan Kutcher (Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health), and pharmacists Drs. Andrea Murphy and David Gardner (Dalhousie University).

The Centre will still be providing trained champions with Med Ed materials in Ontario until the stock is exhausted.

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New Centre of Excellence funding targets initiatives in knowledge exchange

The Centre is introducing a new funding stream to support organizations wanting to pursue innovative activities related to knowledge exchange of evidence-informed practices. The goal of the KE initiative funding program is to support projects that are either formally requested by the Centre through a request for proposal (RFP) process or submitted by the field through a request for applications (RFA) process. The goal is to allow organizations and individuals – and the Centre – to take advantage of opportunities that might not otherwise fit into existing funding categories. 

KE targeted initiatives are meant to be flexible and responsive to the changing needs of the sector, communities and stakeholders. Some examples of the types of projects eligible for funding include:

  • New opportunities to share and use knowledge, such as translating a key knowledge document produced by another stakeholder
  • Developing networking and capacity-building events
  • Supporting emerging knowledge strategies
  • Funding of policy papers that will support the work of the Centre

KE initiative funding is one-time (non-sustainable) up to a maximum of $50,000.

Check the website in early 2011 for more details!

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Youth Engagement Pilot Training

The Centre of Excellence, in partnership with The New Mentality, is creating a provincial training program designed to build the capacity of child and youth mental health agencies to engage youth in their programs, activities, and in the overall culture of organizations.

Two different levels of training will be offered to service providers. The two levels will be pilot-tested in January and the feedback from participants will be used to refine the training program before its official launch in spring 2011.

The Centre strongly believes in the abilities of young people and the strength of their lived experience. Research tells us that:

  • youth-serving organizations are better when young people are actively and meaningfully engaged in them
  • youth and adults working together fosters adult confidence in youth competence
  • youth who are engaged meaningfully in their communities and in decision-making processes are healthier overall.

The training program has been developed in consultation with service providers, youth engagement specialists, and young people themselves. Participants who are registered in the pilot program express a high level of enthusiasm for the training project. Watch our website for more details!

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Fall 2010 Round of Dare to Dream Grant Applications

In November 2010, the Dare to Dream review team gathered in Ottawa to review the latest round of grant applications submitted by youth and their adult mentors across Ontario. After reviewing the many high-quality applications, the team approved the following projects for funding.

Algoma Family Services, Sault-St. Marie ON
Project Title: Algoma Family Services Carnival

Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary School, Stoney Creek ON
Project Title: iMATTER: Taking Care of Teen Mental Health

Ecole Secondaire Catholique Monseigneur- de-Chabonnel, Toronto ON
Project Title:  A l'aise dans ma peau: Un drame 

Grand Erie District School Board, Norfolk Family of Schools, Simcoe ON
Project Title: ASIST Intervention Team

John Wise Public School, St. Thomas ON
Project Title: Mental Health Initiatives

Kemptville Youth Centre, Kemptville ON
Project Title: Dance for Depression

Monsignor Percy Johnson Catholic Secondary School, Toronto ON
Project Title: Mental Health Video

Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School, Ajax ON
Project Title: Mental Health Awareness Week

Orleans Bengals Football Club, Orleans ON
Project Title: Be a Bengal Not a Bully

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, Toronto ON
Project Title: Be You! Day

Pathways for Children and Youth, Kingston ON
Project Title: Community Connect

Regional Children’s Centre, Windsor ON
Project Title: Celebrating Me Children’s Fair

Sacred Heart Secondary School, Midland ON
Project Title: Y.E.A.H. Youth Educating Youth Against Harassment

South Carleton High School, Richmond ON
Project Title: Girls PJ Party

The Dare to Dream review team is made up of youth aged 13-20 years. To learn more about these fabulous young people and about the Dare to Dream program, visit

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Psychotropic Medication Resources

In collaboration with youth, MCYS and subject matter experts, the Centre recently designed information pamphlets about psychotropic medications and young people's rights related to their use. Focus on the Facts, Medications and Youth, and My Meds, My Rights are designed to provide helpful information for youth and the adult caregivers who support them. Visit to order complimentary copies of these materials.

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