Annual Report 2017/18

A Message from Our Leaders

Gregory Glenn
Chair, Board of Directors

Cathy Paul
President & CEO

Achieving better outcomes for children and youth through quality improvement

Making the best possible use of the public resources entrusted to us is important at Kinark. Consistent with this and the goals set out in our 2014-2019 Strategic Plan, we have challenged ourselves over the past four years to work in new and different ways to optimize our operations and improve the quality of our services.

Our focus on quality improvement is at the core of all that we do—whether it is gaining a better understanding of the needs of the children, youth and families who turn to Kinark for help, adopting best clinical practices and developing evidence-informed services to meet their needs, enhancing and aligning staff competencies with the increasingly complex needs of our clients, or transforming our IT systems and business practices to support improved service delivery and outcomes for kids.

Enhancing Our Services

Improving client outcomes with data-informed treatment planning

Four years ago, Kinark embarked on a major data integration and analysis project to better understand exactly who we were serving within our child and youth mental health (CYMH) program. At the same time, Kinark was shifting its mandate to focus its CYMH services on kids with the most complex needs. We developed a collection of client profiles to define “complex needs” in a way that was meaningful to staff and to help us ensure our interventions were meeting the specific needs of the kids seeking our services.

Implementing a new service delivery model in Child and Youth Mental Health

The transformation of our Child and Youth Mental Health services continued last year as we further strengthened our capacity to deliver high quality, evidence-informed services for children and youth with acute, complex needs.

Consistent with our strategic goal to be a best treatment provider, Kinark’s new mental health service model is client-centred, inter-disciplinary and data-driven. It has been developed to support the delivery of timely and appropriate treatment tailored to meet individual client needs, and improved client outcomes.

Strengthening residential treatment: from position paper to standardized assessment tool

Kinark has taken a leadership role with government and its sector partners to strengthen residential treatment for children and youth with mental health issues since 2015 when it released a position paper, “Strengthening Children’s Mental Health Residential Treatment through Evidence and Experience”. The paper is based on an extensive literature review and Kinark’s own experience as a residential treatment provider. In it, we identified nine critical success factors that characterize and define a successful residential treatment system, and recommended that a tiered system of residential treatment be developed as well as alternatives to residential treatment.

Mark Williams (left) and Larry Shaw discuss results of the residential treatment services assessment.

“This assessment process really engaged staff and provided them with the opportunity to share their thoughts on how to improve services. Staff were excited to have a say in the process and to provide recommendations to the assessment team. They were particularly pleased to see the section of the tool that focussed on the staff team itself.

The comprehensive assessment process has provided us with recommendations that focus on enhancing the quality of services through continuous quality improvement. The entire team is looking forward to implementing the assessment recommendations and further improving our services.”

Mark Williams, Residential Supervisor

Left to right: Marlene Pike, Breanna Costelloe (Kinark) and Wendy Rechanicz (Frontenac).
Left to right: Marlene Pike, Breanna Costelloe (Kinark) and Wendy Rechanicz (Frontenac).

“At Frontenac, we welcomed the opportunity to work with Kinark, as lead agency, to assess our residential treatment program. The experience was positive thanks to the review team. Staff and youth were included in the process and their input was valued. We look forward to receiving the results, and to making further quality improvements based on the recommendations.”

Marlene E. Pike, Executive Director, Frontenac Youth Services

Helping children and families transition to the new Ontario Autism Program

In spring 2016, when the Government of Ontario announced changes to the provision of autism services in the province, Kinark acted quickly to support both families whose children were already in service, as well as those who were awaiting service through the new Ontario Autism Program.

We established a team of Family Resource and Support Coordinators to help families leaving the waitlist to access one-time funding, and locate service providers and other community resources and supports for their children and youth as they awaited service transition to the OAP.

Creating quality time for children and families, and better outcomes in the process

Two years ago, the Kinark Outdoor Centre (KOC) partnered with Tri-County Community Support Services and Point in Time Centre for Children, Youth and Parents to create a unique program for families whose children have complex behavioural, emotional and developmental conditions.

Evolving client needs shape service development and delivery

Syl Apps Youth Centre (SAYC) is a secure treatment facility that provides forensic mental health/youth justice programming to young people with acute and complex needs, who are referred to Kinark through the legal system. Clients are admitted into one of three service streams: one for youth in conflict with the law who also have a significant mental illness; another for those who are at significant risk of harm to themselves or others; and a third for those deemed not criminally responsible or unfit to stand trial due to their mental illness.

From pilot project to best practice leader

Supervised Access Program Coordinator Shelley St. Amant, 2018 winner of the Second Annual Judy Newman Legacy Award.

For the past 25 years, Kinark’s Supervised Access Program, which started in Midland, Ontario as a pilot project funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General, has been shielding children from the potentially devastating effects of marriage breakdown. Families undergoing difficult marital dissolutions may be referred to the program through the Family Court system or, refer themselves if both parties agree.

The program provides parents involved in custody and access disputes with a safe place where they can visit and interact with their children in a neutral, supervised environment, or where staff can facilitate the movement of children from one parent to another for unsupervised visits away from the centre. Staff works closely with a variety of community stakeholders to provide these safe meeting places, and with advisory committees that provide guidance and support to Supervised Access teams.

Since 1993, supervised access has become an integral part of Ontario’s legal system and Kinark has expanded its operations to Barrie, Orillia, Muskoka and Peterborough. Last year our Supervised Access team served more than 2,100 families and over 3,000 children.

As one of the first programs of its kind in Ontario, Kinark’s has been intimately involved in the evolution of the program, helping to develop its infrastructure and best practices.

Last year, Supervised Access staff from Simcoe/Muskoka were asked to help inform the development of a new provincial database (iSAID) for other SA providers and clients. They also helped to inform meetings with visiting representatives from Japan, Nunavut and Scotland, who are developing similar programs to support children and youth through the tumult of separation and divorce.

Helping kids get off to a great start

We all want the best for our children. Ensuring that their kids get off to the best possible start in life is especially important to parents. That’s where Kinark’s Child Care Centres come in.

Our four licensed facilities – all in Keswick, Ontario – strive to provide an environment that supports all aspects of a child’s development and enables children aged 2 to 13 years of age, to engage, explore, inquire and interact with others in a safe, healthy and nurturing space. Our early childhood educators encourage families, who they view as co-learners in their children’s learning, to actively participate in the program. Last year, we provided child care for 261 children and youth.


Strengthening the System

Laying the foundations to improve service quality and capacity

In its role as Lead Agency for child and youth mental health (CYMH) services in Durham, York, and Haliburton/Kawartha Lakes/Peterborough service areas, Kinark, in collaboration with our 19 service agency partners, has focussed attention on service quality.

Quality Committees have now been established in each of the three service areas. Work is well underway to build our ability to use data and client experience to monitor how well the CYMH system is meeting service demand, the needs of families and the effectiveness of core service programs. Our quality journey strives to ensure that children and youth are achieving positive outcomes through current and future service delivery.

In collaboration with our CYMH service agency partners, we are also developing guiding principles to support a service area decision-making framework, so that decisions about programs and services in each area will be made with consistency, transparency and fairness.

Last year, we also began two major quality evaluation initiatives. Working closely with our CYMH service provider partners and nine Boards of Education across all three service areas, we reviewed current CYMH school-based partnerships. Day treatment programs, and counselling and therapy programs are currently being assessed for effectiveness and efficiency in meeting the needs of clients and families. This work will, in time, lead to the development of standards for all school-based services in our three service areas to ensure families are receiving the highest quality services.

We also initiated an evaluation of nine CYMH residential treatment programs operating across our three service areas last year. For the first time, all programs will be reviewed using a new assessment tool (START) developed by Kinark Child and Family Services. The tool was developed using the nine critical success factors for quality residential treatment services identified in the agency’s 2015 policy paper, Strengthening Children’s Mental Health Residential Treatment through Evidence and Experience. You can read more about this in Section One of this Report.

Investing in Our People

Aligning our purpose, passion and people

At Kinark, we understand that the quality of our services is dependent on the quality of our people. It’s why we strive to hire the best, welcome them into the fold, support their continued professional development, and recognize extraordinary contributions and performance.

It all starts with developing a shared understanding of what we are here to achieve together. Last year, we introduced a best practice approach to help us better align and focus our employees’ work and development on our strategic goals using the SMART Goal-setting and Performance Development model.

The SMART methodology is one of the most frequently used in the world today. It has helped us to firmly embed the agency’s strategic goals throughout the organization, and staff to better understand how their work relates and contributes to the achievement of our shared goals.

Goal setting
Wassay Shefa discusses his SMART goals with Lara Awoleye.

2017 KARE Award winners

Sharon Mountford, Autism Services, winner of the 2017 Individual KARE Award.

At Kinark, we believe in recognizing individual employees and teams who exemplify our core values and consistently strive to enhance the quality of the services we provide to children, youth and families.

Consistent with our strategic goal to become an employer of choice, we held the first Kinark Annual Recognition of Employees (KARE) Awards last year. The KARE Awards complement our existing recognition program for long-serving employees, and were developed to recognize and acknowledge both individuals and teams for their commitment and contributions to continuous quality improvement, best practice development and implementation, as well as to other service and workplace improvements.

Improving Our Processes and Systems

Developing smarter systems to inform and enhance service delivery

Last year, Kinark’s Information Technology (IT) team implemented core elements of the agency’s five-year digital transformation strategy, replacing outdated systems with integrated cloud-based technology that, when fully implemented, will support evidence-based service delivery and enhance productivity and communications.

According to Chief Information Officer, Karim Ramji, this foundational work involved migrating both Kinark and our child and youth mental health service provider partners to a common client information system (CIS). This integrated CIS will pave the way for better data collection and information sharing amongst Kinark staff, clients and partners.

Monitoring Our Progress

Managing and mitigating risk

Identifying and effectively managing risk is another important component of Kinark’s overall focus on quality. Last year, we engaged our program streams and functional areas in the development of a new enterprise-wide risk management framework.

The exercise provided us with a comprehensive registry of both the risks that Kinark faces, as an agency serving the most complex children and youth, and the mechanisms we have in place to proactively monitor and manage those risks. The process equipped staff with a common approach and language with which to critically assess risk and identify areas in need of further improvement to mitigate risk.

The agency-wide undertaking also served to raise everyone’s awareness and understanding – from the front-line to the Board of Directors – that risk management is a shared responsibility, one that we all take very seriously at Kinark.

Keeping score: tracking our performance to ensure quality

Dimensions of Quality Service

  • Safe
  • Effective
  • Client-centred
  • Efficiency
  • Timely
  • Equitable

Last year, members of our Research and Evaluation (R&E) team fanned out across the agency to help program areas and functional departments develop performance scorecards.

The purpose of the exercise was to develop and align 10 individual program and departmental scorecards with dimensions of quality so that we can track and monitor the extent to which programs and departments are achieving their objectives and delivering high quality services.

Fully Accredited for 25 years and counting

In January 2018, Kinark was once again awarded accreditation by the Canadian Centre for Accreditation (CCA) for the next four years.

The voluntary accreditation process is an important component of our focus on continuous quality improvement. Accreditation enables organizations like Kinark to objectively assess the quality of their operations and services against industry standards and best practices, and identify their strengths, successes and opportunities for improvement.

Kinark executives Robert Burkholder (left) and Cynthia Weaver (right) with Julie Ibbott, Accreditation Project Lead.

Kinark by the Numbers: 2016/172017/18

Children and Youth Served

*The values reflect implementation of the Ontario Autism Program where increased funding was flowed to families.


This financial summary has been extracted from Kinark’s 2017/18 audited financial statements, copies of which are available by clicking here.

Board of Directors

Kinark’s Board is comprised of skilled and committed volunteers who guide the development and implementation of the strategic plan and monitor organizational performance.

Learn more about Kinark’s Board of Directors

Leadership Team

Kinark’s leadership team provides overall direction and support to staff across the agency to enable the achievement of the strategic goals. The team ensures quality service delivery, guides and contributes to agency planning and growth, and supports decision making.

Learn more about Kinark’s Leadership Team

Family Advisory Committee

The Family Advisory Committee is made up of parents and other family members who have lived experience caring for a child or youth with mental health issues and/or autism. Committee members provide valuable feedback about Kinark’s programs, and help us to communicate effectively with families in our community-based mental health and autism programs.

For a list of FAC members, click here.

About Kinark

Kinark serves children and youth with complex needs, and we keep them at the centre of everything we do. Our clients often face difficult challenges throughout their life journey. Change and improvement can unfold over years – so we take the long view. Hope is always present at Kinark. We believe that better life outcomes are achievable.


A healthy future for Ontario’s children and youth


Helping children and youth with complex needs achieve better life outcomes


  • Hold children at the centre of all we do
  • Challenge ourselves to be the best
  • Achieve more together
  • Instill hope
  • Lead