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April 09, 2019

Increasing access to care: SickKids CCMH announces a new service delivery model

Announcement from Christina Bartha, Executive Director, SickKids CCMH and Neill Carson, Clinical Director, SickKids CCMH

We know that as many as one in five children and youth in Ontario will experience a mental health problem and that five out of six of these kids will not receive treatment.* These numbers tell us that we need to think differently about how we deliver service. 

Today, SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health (SickKids CCMH) is pleased to announce a new service delivery model for intensive services that will increase access to care and expand capacity. Over the next 18 months, we will transform our Intensive Services for Youth from a primarily residential focus to a format that emphasizes day treatment and intensive in-home while retaining a residential component. The new service will see more kids and families, reduce overall wait times and be better integrated with the real lives of our clients. We will do a better job for youth and families who are facing complex and chronic mental health concerns.

This change is endorsed by Toronto’s Lead Agency for Children’s Mental Health, East Metro Youth Services (EMYS), and the ministries of Children, Community and Social Services and Health and Long-Term Care. SickKids CCMH is one of three agencies announcing changes today to address the changing needs of our clients. The other two are George Hull and Turning Point Youth Services with whom we have coordinated our planning.

To achieve these changes, SickKids CCMH will cease operations at the rural Clarksburg site known as “the Farm” on June 30, 2019. We recognize that this innovative service has had significant impact in the lives of many people over the years. We value the work that was done there and the people who brought to that work their energy, commitment and compassion. We also know that the same desire to work differently and make lives better that gave birth to the Farm 40 years ago will now inform the transformative changes that we are about to make.

Our new service structure will:

  • Consolidate all intensive services for youth at our Jarvis site. The resources from the former rural site will be fully redeployed to expand service in Toronto where all of our clients reside.
  • Serve higher volumes of clients and provide increased access to supports that do not require absence from home.
  • Continue to serve the same number of residential clients each year as we do now by permitting more flexible lengths of stay at the 12-bed Jarvis residence and increasing occupancy.
  • Offer enhanced community supports, evening and weekend programing and expanded individual and family therapy.

This redistribution of resources will also allow us to enhance some of our services operating at the Sheppard site.

Over the past decade, Toronto has seen declining use of residential treatment services and faced an increased demand for intensive day-based services that do not require absence from home. Occupancy of residential beds across the Toronto region has been consistently below 75 per cent over the past three years. At SickKids CCMH occupancy of our current beds was below 65 per cent in the same period. 

When five out of six are not getting the help they need, we have a duty to ensure that we are making optimal use of our funding. Together with George Hull and Turning Point, the changes being made today will add system capacity for more than 200 new clients a year.

Planning is presently underway to ramp down the Farm operation. All clients presently in treatment will complete their service and all new referrals will be responded to as usual. A comprehensive HR plan is in place to support our impacted employees and, of course, our planning will include a celebration of the contribution of the Farm over the past 40 years.