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.

In anticipation of the introduction of the new Ontario Autism Program (OAP) in June 2017, we took steps to optimize support for children and young people with autism, and their families. We began to introduce a broader continuum of evidence-based services for children. At the same time, we put in place a team of Resource and Support Coordinators to help families waiting for service through the new OAP to obtain the information and services their children needed in the interim. Eighty-five per cent of the families supported by our Family Resource and Support Coordinator Team said they felt supported by Kinark.

Based on the critical success factors identified in our 2015 policy paper, Strengthening Children’s Mental Health Residential Treatment Through Evidence and Experience, we developed and piloted a new standardized assessment tool last year to evaluate residential treatment services at Kinark and are now testing this tool at three of our partner agencies. In the year ahead, we will seek opportunities to share the tool more broadly to achieve better outcomes for children and youth receiving residential treatment services across the province.

In our role as lead agency for child and youth mental health in three service areas, we worked closely with our core service providers and other partners to advance the quality agenda by putting in place mechanisms and processes to monitor and enhance system capacity and performance.

We also continued to transform our forensic mental health/youth justice program, understanding the importance of addressing the mental health needs of this population of youth so they are better equipped to find and follow a path to a healthy, safe and productive adulthood.

In 2017/18, we used the SMART goal-setting and performance development methodology for the first time to help embed the agency’s strategic goals throughout the organization. This annual process, engages every employee in establishing specific, measurable work and professional development goals that are aligned with our goals, and helps all of us stay focussed on what will make the biggest difference to the clients and families we serve.

We continued to implement our multi-year digital strategy and transform our IT systems with the implementation of new, secure cloud-based applications to support our staff, clinicians and sector partners. We also consolidated our risk management practices into an enterprise-wide risk management strategy to strengthen our ability to identify and manage risk given the nature of our business.

Our focus on quality improvement was noted by reviewers from the Canadian Centre for Accreditation (CCA) who, for the fifth consecutive time since 1994, granted Kinark full accreditation status in January 2018.

Looking ahead, we will continue our work to achieve our five strategic goals, which remain as relevant today as they were when we established them four years ago. Leveraging the strong foundations that we’ve put in place, we will use our creativity and capacity to deliver responsive, innovative and effective treatment options for children and youth to help them to achieve their life goals.

We will continue to look at what we do and how we do it with a critical eye to further enhance our services. At the same time, we will continue to contribute to provincial work to promote system improvement, and lend our support to the development and delivery of even more effective services for children and youth with complex needs.

Inspired by those we serve, our achievements to date belong to Kinark’s diverse and dedicated staff whose expertise and compassion are impressive. It is our great pleasure to share their accomplishments of the past year with you in our 2017/18 Annual Report.

Gregory Glenn
Chair, Board of Directors

Cathy Paul
President and CEO