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.
Today, this foundational work – in combination with other CYMH program changes – enables Kinark staff, who now have a common language and standardized tools, to objectively assess and clearly identify client needs, and tailor treatment to meet the specific needs of individual clients.
The profiles have since been updated to provide us with a more holistic picture of the needs of our clients, according to Dr. Vicki Mowat, Senior Director, Planning and Research. “This helps us ensure that the kids we serve are receiving the most appropriate services for the appropriate length of time to meet their needs and achieve the desired outcomes.”
With this new, comprehensive client data, she says, Kinark can monitor the treatment that different groups of clients receive, the outcomes they experience, and determine what’s working and where improvements may be necessary.
This work has been replicated across the three service areas in which Kinark serves as the Lead Agency for children’s mental health to facilitate a consistent approach to treatment planning, and for our Forensic Mental Health/Youth Justice population.
Ultimately, this work is about understanding the needs of the children and youth who receive our services, monitoring the quality of the mental health services Kinark provides and identifying opportunities to further improve our services to help kids achieve their goals and better life outcomes.