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.

Building on work that began in 2016/17 to better understand who was being referred to Syl Apps and the Intensive Support and Supervision Program (ISSP) – a community-based alternative to custody – staff reviewed assessment and documentation processes as well as treatment programs and services last year with a view to aligning them more closely and consistently with the changing profile of clients to better meet their needs.

“Reviewing our services, clinical processes and the needs of our client populations is an ongoing quality improvement process at Kinark,” says Dr. Janelle Hawes, Clinical Director, Forensic Services at SAYC. “As the complexity of the needs of the youth change, our interventions also need to change to meet their highly complex and evolving needs. Our goals are to streamline and improve services for clients at the Centre and in ISSP.”

Based on this analysis of current and recent SAYC clients and their clinical needs, the need for new treatment groups was identified and have been added to the Centre’s service mix. While developing the new services, Syl Apps also reviewed how services are structured, and is now developing an enhanced assessment process to more effectively identify individual needs and associated risks. This information will, in turn, contribute to the delivery of more effective services and supports to help youth and families progress on their journey to better health and brighter futures.