Parent and Youth Engagement

Kinark believes that the most effective services are those that are provided in a responsive and respectful manner and in a partnership with families.

As part of that commitment, Kinark invites families, caregivers and youth to work with us to identify and shape how we meet the needs of children and youth with complex needs and their families.

Parent Advisory Committee

The Kinark Parent Advisory Committee was established so that families have an opportunity to give feedback on the programs we offer and help Kinark better communicate with families in our community-based child and youth mental health (CYMH) and autism services work.

The Committee is made up of family members with lived experience caring for a child and/or youth with mental health issues and/or autism. There are two parent/caregiver representatives from each of Kinark’s CYMH service geographies- Simcoe, York, Durham, Peterborough and Northumberland – and five representatives from our Central East Autism Program.


Applications for membership are posted here as vacancies occur and there is a brief screening process.

Local Community Advisory Committees

Our Peterborough, Durham and Northumberland programs also have locally focused Parent Community Advisory Committees that support the local work of Kinark. This may involve work to bring awareness to the issue of mental health and/or autism in their community or provide support to the broader Kinark Parent Advisory Committee.


We are always looking for members to join our local Community Advisory Committees in Durham, Northumberland and Peterborough. We are currently developing local Committees in Simcoe and York. If you would like to volunteer, please email

Parents for Children’s Mental Health Support Chapters

Parents for Children’s Mental Health (PCMH) has Chapters across the province of Ontario. These Chapters function as support groups for family members that are raising a child and/or youth struggling with mental illness. Kinark is proud to support Parents for Children’s Mental Health (PCMH) Chapters in Barrie, Aurora and Whitby.

The PCMH Chapters meet monthly (except in July and August) and provide a space for family members to share their experiences and their strategies in a safe and accepting environment. The local leaders work to invite speakers to the group to inform and help family members in their journey with their child.


For more information about the Barrie, Aurora or Whitby PCMH Chapters, please email


Kinark involves young people as partners in their own care. This includes developing treatment plans with the child or youth and the family as a whole. The agency has been working with the Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health to advance our youth engagement practices.

We are currently looking for youth to partner with us on a number of intiatives, including working with us to develop the youth section of this website . If you are interested in more information, please email