- Clinical Excellence in Community-based Child and Youth Mental Health
- Partnering to Strength Services in Community Mental Health
- Kinark Achieves Quality and Safety of Program and Services Accreditation
- Enhancing the Employee Experience at Kinark
- Streamlining Operations through Technology
- The Emergence of the York Simcoe Autism Network
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity at Kinark
Letter from the Board Chair and CEO
For a second year, we have seen the demand for mental health support and autism services for children and youth grow in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The resilience of our employees was remarkable. They continued to serve some of the most vulnerable children and youth with complex needs and their families, while at the same time, each person was dealing with the impact of the pandemic personally. We are proud that our employees working in our community-based services, at Syl Apps Youth Centre, at our live-in treatment programs, and in our support services teams, continued to provide high quality services despite the challenge. They stayed the course through COVID-19, holding children and youth at the centre of everything they do. The pandemic landscape continues to be challenging and confusing for all of us, but we know that our staff are rising to the challenge. Kinark served nearly 4,000 children, youth, and families this year, in person and virtually.
We also continued to make progress on our strategic plan.
Included in this year’s annual report are updates about how our processes pivoted in response to the pandemic to continue to meet the changing clinical needs of kids and families, and how we innovated to improve access to services and enhance the experience of Kinark clients and employees. We describe how we further strengthened our support to our employees through the development of Integrated Talent Management (ITM), to help Kinark become an employer of choice in our sectors by using staff feedback to introduce improvements, big and small, to enhance the employment experience at Kinark, including a post-pandemic remote work program. We detail the actions we have taken to collaborate with staff, the community, and diversity and inclusion leaders to establish and sustain a diversity, equity, and inclusion framework. This framework is tackling racism and oppression in all its forms with the goal of more equitable outcomes for staff and the children, youth, and families we serve.
We improved access and services to strengthen the sectors by partnering with community organizations. The new York Simcoe Autism Network, developed in response to the Ontario government’s new Ontario Autism Program, brought together agencies with a commitment to build a coordinated, family-centred network that emphasizes an integrated approach to care for children and youth on the autism spectrum and their families. As the Child and Youth Mental Health Lead Agency in three distinct service areas, we collaborated with core service providers to address growing needs in the areas of eating disorders, service access inequities and integrated for kids with mental health issues and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
We credit the agency’s successes and advancements to our staff. They continue to adapt and remain steadfast in their commitment to support children and youth, and families and communities, while the pandemic demanded so much, personally, and professionally. We acknowledge and thank them for all their hard work to keep children and youth at the centre of all we do.
Chair, Board of Directors
President and Chief Executive Officer
Continuing to Make Progress on our Strategic Plan
Clinical Excellence in Community-based Child and Youth Mental Health
In 2014, Kinark embarked on a journey to redevelop our community-based child and youth mental health programs to support the complex treatment needs of our clients through evidence-based quality practices and processes. Over that time, Kinark defined scopes of practice and reconfigured teams, implemented comprehensive assessment tools and procedures, and specified the practice of gold-standard clinical interventions, such as Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), the Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment, and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy.
Kinark staff are experts in their field and as an organization dedicated to quality improvement, the final stage of the redevelopment journey saw the installation of a Competency-Based Model of Clinical Supervision to support our employees to continue to learn, grow, and innovate.
The model of clinical supervision builds on employee development and supports the practice competency of Kinark’s clinical therapists by regularly observing clinical sessions and rating the elements of their practice using a standardized assessment tool. The evaluation of this implementation was developed in collaboration with Dr. Robert Friedberg, co-author of the rating tool and industry expert in the practice of CBT with children and adolescents.
Results were outstanding, demonstrating that the supervision model supports clinicians and maintains their practice competency over time due to the ongoing engagement in this supervision model.
This ongoing work translates to quality service and better outcomes for children, youth, and families.
This implementation effort and the evaluation results have been accepted for presentation at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry annual conference. As a leader in the child and youth mental health sector, Kinark leverages its experience and expertise to share knowledge with its partners and other leaders in the field.
Partnering to Strengthen Services in Community Mental Health
As Kinark enters into its eighth year as a Lead Agency for Children and Youth Mental Health (CYMH), Core Service Providers are actively engaged in local priorities and are working to advance strategies for their top priorities.
For the better part of two years, much attention has been given to ensuring the sector could continue to meet the needs of clients and families while dealing with implications and restrictions of the pandemic. Emerging from this, providers assessed and reorganized their priorities to ensure our collective efforts meet the needs of communities and support better outcomes for children, youth, and families.
One of the greatest strengths of being a Lead Agency in more than one geography is the opportunity for spread and scale, where the lessons and efforts of one area are extended to another, or, in the most ideal circumstances, are addressed collectively across all areas together.
- Within the Haliburton, City of Kawartha Lakes/Peterborough area, the service providers identified inequity of access to services for racialized groups. They came together to address the issue and focus their efforts on strengthening diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) practices and improving access. This work includes increasing staff and board DEI competency through Foundations of Inclusion training, collectively assessing current gaps and opportunities, collection of race-based/identity-based data to support planning, and the development and implementation of a DEI planning framework process.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations saw a significant increase in youth presenting with eating disorders during the pandemic, resulting in the growth of waitlists for services. In York Region, we are working to support youth with eating disorders in the community through early intervention, timely access, and increased capacity including training for service providers.
- To support the community in Durham Region, Core Service Providers are working together to better support children and youth who struggle with mental health and have an Autism Spectrum Disorder by establishing a community response team that is activated as needed to identify goal-oriented and focused strategies. Kinark’s policy paper is focused on supporting this cohort: Read the paper, Putting Children and Youth First: Integrating Autism and Mental Health Services in Ontario.
Kinark Programs and Services Accredited as High Quality and Safe
In March 2022, Kinark Child and Family Services was accredited by our new national accrediting body, Accreditation Canada, with its Primer Award. This followed its assessment of our programs, services, and processes against standards of excellence. The accreditation process identifies what an organization is doing well and where to focus its improvement efforts. Kinark was evaluated against national standards. We are proud of the many strengths identified by the reviewers and will use the results to continue to improve the quality and safety of our services to best support children and youth with complex needs and their families. For more about Accreditation Canada, visit our accreditation page.
Enhancing the Employee Experience at Kinark
The pandemic has challenged us and others in many ways – for lots of people it has changed how we work, how we think about work and want to work. However, it has also helped Kinark to imagine new ways of working and new ways to support our staff.
Integrated Talent Management (ITM) is a Kinark strategy to support achievement of the strategic plan goal of being an employer of choice in its sectors. ITM is rooted in staff feedback and focused on opportunities they identify to positively influence their experience of working at Kinark. Simply put, ITM is about making continuous improvement, big and small, to enhance the employment experience at Kinark.
In 2020-21, Kinark appointed senior leaders to an ITM Steering Committee to sponsor and oversee key projects and support initiatives. The efforts this year have seen progress in the areas of ‘total rewards’ including an employee wellness campaign, temporary expansion of benefits for part-time and relief staff working in our 24/7 sites, and implementation of a post-pandemic remote work program. An ‘investment in leaders’ included development of an online performance review process to enable meaningful discussion, management training for Kinark Autism Services and Syl Apps Youth Centre managers and launch of an e-learning platform to support professional development. Kinark has also made enhancements to communication forums and channels to support more timely, regular, and effective communication in the organization.
Our achievements are a result of the work employees do every day!
Streamlining Operations through Technology
A key goal of Kinark’s strategic plan is to leverage technology to aid in extending service delivery and improving operational workflows. Kinark leverages client data to inform and drive the work it does to better understand its client’s needs. Our client information system allows our users to play an integral role in the collection, analysis, and dissemination of data as part of our commitment to ongoing quality improvement.
After many years of successfully using our own designed and built client information system, in February 2022 we made the shift to a dynamic, innovative ‘state of the art’ technology provided by an external vendor that would support quality service delivery as part of an efficient and effective digital strategy.
You can read more about how Kinark is streamlining operations through technology in a recent news release here.
The Emergence of the York Simcoe Autism Network
The York Simcoe Autism Network (YSAN) was formed in January 2021 by eleven agencies with a history of partnering together because of a shared commitment to a vision of high quality, evidenced-based, integrated and individualized autism services within the new Ontario Autism Program.
The organizations have a commitment to building a coordinated, family-centred network that emphasizes an integrated approach to care for children and youth on the autism spectrum and their families. Leveraging their strengths, the network providers promote service excellence and collaboration to close care gaps for families.
YSAN partners collaborated on several successful applications for funding to deliver services. To date, YSAN partners have delivered Caregiver-Mediated Early Years services to 137 caregivers and provided service to over 170 children in the Entry to School Program. YSAN continues to build upon services provided by its constituent agencies for OAP Foundational Family Services and Core Clinical Services. We surveyed our YSAN clients in the first year:
- 89% of caregivers felt that the CMEY services provided are of high quality.
- 89% of caregivers would recommend this program to a friend who needed similar help.
- 100% of caregivers reported having opportunities to work with staff to develop program goals that suited their family.
- 84% of caregivers agreed staff were sensitive to their family’s cultural needs (e.g., religion, language, ethnic background, race).
The network operates as the York Simcoe Autism Network because the organizations believe their whole is greater than the sum of their individual parts. By combining forces and streamlining processes, the Network makes it easier for families to get the care their children need.
As YSAN matures it looks forward to further developing service pathways for children, youth, and their families to ensure a broad range of service needs are met. This includes exploration of partnerships with a breadth of new service partners.
To learn more about YSAN, visit their website here.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity at Kinark
In 2019, Kinark began working collaboratively with staff, the community, and diversity and inclusion experts to establish and sustain a diversity, equity, and inclusion Framework to address racism and oppression in all its forms and create equitable outcomes for its staff and the children, youth, and families the agency serves.
Kinark engaged external expertise to complete an Equity Audit, which was informed by employee input and a review of agency policies and practices. Turner Consulting Group completed an analysis of Kinark’s employment and service delivery policies and practices, engaged with employees across the organization, and provided recommendations for action to strengthen equitable service delivery, eliminate barriers to a diverse workforce, and support employees’ full participation in the workplace.
Kinark has developed a multi-year workplan to implement audit recommendations, is engaging our employees and supporting ongoing learning on our journey to realize a strong culture of diversity, equity, and inclusivity.
Read Kinark’s Commitment to DEI on our website here.
We are the sum of our people
Kinark’s employees ‘hold children and youth at the centre of all that we do’. Kinark is the sum of our people, and our people are the heartbeat of this organization and the great service we are proud to provide.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it many challenges, but it also presented Kinark with opportunities. Recognizing the importance of continuing to safely meet the needs of children, youth, and families across its service areas and staffing our 24/7 programs, we sent out an agency wide call out for redeployment. Thirty-seven employees stepped up to help in whatever ways they could. In spite of the unknowns and associated risks for themselves and their own families, redeployed staff were willing to learn new skills, meet new people, work in unfamiliar settings, and leave their homes for periods of time. And when their redeployment ended, one of the most common words of advice to be heard were, “Everyone in the agency should have the opportunity to work in different roles, in different programs to have a greater appreciation and knowledge of the tremendous work we do everyday with children, youth, and families.”
Every year, Kinark takes time to celebrate the achievements of employees through the Kinark Annual Recognition of Employees (KARE) Awards. This internal awards program is an opportunity to acknowledge staff and show appreciation for the hard work that is done across the organization. The past year included a call out to recognize the efforts of employees during the pandemic.
Employees are nominated by their peers to be recognized publicly for their accomplishments and contributions, and nominees are people who exemplify Kinark’s core values and go “above and beyond.”
In 2021-2022, there were 38 nominations across five categories. Congratulations to all of the nominees and winners for their incredible achievements and thank you for your continued dedication to the children, youth, families and communities we serve.
Community-based Mental Health
Kinark’s team of experts provide evidence-based services for children and youth with complex mental health needs and their families. A full range of assessment and treatment services are provided by inter-disciplinary teams of clinicians. Kinark also serves as the Lead Agency for child and youth mental health services in three distinct service areas to plan and coordinate service delivery. Read more on our website here.
Kinark Autism Services
Kinark provides a range of free services for families registered in the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) as well as fee-for-service options for children and youth with ASD, siblings, parents, and caregivers. Our team of skilled clinicians, including Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA), deliver caring, responsive, and family-centred Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) services customized to meet the unique strengths and needs of each family. For more information, visit the Kinark Autism Service website here.
Forensic Mental Health
Kinark provides one of three Secure Treatment programs in the province of Ontario. Our expert team provides assessment, treatment and re-integration services and supports for youth who have been diagnosed with significant mental health issues and where stabilization and recovery has not been achieved in other health settings. Kinark has the capacity for 24 Secure Treatment beds within our secure treatment facility in Oakville, Ontario – Syl Apps Youth Centre. Read more on our website here.
Kinark Outdoor Centre (KOC)
The KOC is an outdoor and therapeutic respite facility in Minden, Ontario. The year-round camping facility is designed to deliver a menu of social recreational and therapeutic respite programs primarily for children and youth with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families. From skill development, family enrichment, social recreation, respite, and adventure-based experiences, the KOC offers high-quality programming and once-in-a-lifetime experiences in a safe, well-supported and natural environment. To learn more, visit the KOC website here.
Kinark’s highly respected Supervised Access programs provide safe, neutral and accessible locations where children can be supported during visits with their parents who are involved in custody/access disputes. Funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General, Kinark provides supervised access in Simcoe and Muskoka, as well as the Four Counties (Peterborough, Northumberland, Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton). Kinark also provides administrative support to the Toronto Supervised Access program.
Community-Based Youth Justice
Community-based programs for youth in conflict with the law treat children and youth at home and in the community. The Intensive Support and Supervision Program (ISSP) is an intensive, treatment-focused, community-based, alternative to custody for youth in conflict with the law who have significant mental health issues. The Community Support Team provides services in York and Simcoe Regions. Each youth has a treatment team which includes a therapist, community support worker, psychologist and psychiatrist. STRIVE, the Supporting Teenagers in Readiness for Independence, Vocation and Education program is a classroom located inside a Peterborough high school. The program provides a robust menu of evidence-based services for children and youth aged 13 to 18 who are living with mental health issues that affect their emotions and behaviour. The STRIVE team is made up of two child and youth workers, two teachers, one social worker, and one supervisor. Students also have access to a nurse, psychologist, and psychiatrist.
Financial Summary and Statements
Kinark’s strong fiscal position enabled us to meet our strategic objectives to sustain accountable and efficient management of systems and processes that are centred on value and continuous quality improvements across the organization. During the past fiscal year ending March 31, 2022, Kinark received an unqualified audit report from our auditors (Hilborn LLP) and this fiscal year’s funding included transition funding from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and Ministry of Health funding for COVID-19 expenses.
|FINANCIAL SUMMARY FOR THE YEAR ENDED MARCH 31, 2022||2021||2022|
|Salaries and benefits||$46,285,095||$42,360,294|
|EXCESS (DEFICIENCY) OF REVENUES OVER EXPENSES FOR THE YEAR||$3,581,321||$7,579,842|
This financial summary has been extracted from Kinark’s 2021/22 audited financial statements, copies of which are available here.