On Sept. 9, 2015, EMYS brought together the Core Services agencies funded by the Ministry of Child and Youth Services and other community partners to discuss systems transformation.
Four working groups were established over the summer 2015 to support the development of the first Core Services Delivery Plan, a key deliverable to the ministry in 2015/16. On Sept. 9, 2015 the working groups presented updates and plans for feedback.
Tony Diniz, CEO, Child Development Institute (CDI) and Communications working group chair, shared the importance of consultation and engagement through bringing diverse voices to the table, while at the same time taking a measured and carefully planned approach to broad-based public consultations. The Communications team will focus on collecting best practices, collaborating with peer Lead Agencies, and will pull together near-term communications tools for all working group participants, to help inform frontline staff and agency leadership teams including Board members. Tony noted: “We should always have clarity of intent when we are planning for public consultation. We need to have a clear engagement plan.”
Donna Duncan, CEO, The Hincks-Dellcrest Centre spoke to the possible approaches and key benefits of comprehensive service mapping. The Service Mapping working group will work closely with the service provider community, ministry officials and their working group peers to determine the current information gaps, determine what data and tools currently exist, and look to a potential survey of MCYS members to fill in any additional detail required. Donna spoke to the importance of rigour and consistency of definition as this work is conducted. “It is key to compare apples to apples, versus having a fruit salad.”
Centralized Point of Access
Heather Sproule, Executive Director, Central Toronto Youth Services and chair of the Centralized Point of Access working group discussed approaches to uncovering a way to eliminate barriers to youth and family access to mental health services, noting her working group will focus on investigating the work being done in other sectors such as healthcare and education. “The vision is that children and families will know where to go… to get the services that address their needs.
Knowledge, Information, Data, Systems Performance Management k/i/d/s
Knowledge, Information, Data, Systems working group chair Ewa Deszynski, Executive Director, Etobicoke Children’s Centre spoke about how the work being done by her team underpins all of the other team’s efforts. “We need to focus on the data that matters …so infants, children and youth receive the right mental health services at the right time.” Ewa noted her team will be looking to determine systems currently in place, tracking the Ministry-driven system initiatives and working closely with other working groups and in particular the CPA and service mapping groups.
Working Group Presentations: Six Thinking Caps Exercise
Teams were asked to feedback on the working group presentations using the Six Thinking Hats exercise developed by Dr. Edward de Bono for structuring a discussion to uncover different perspectives and points of view. Focusing on the Green hat, a blue-sky, ‘what-if’, benefits-based view and Black hat, an analytical, risk management and challenges-based perspective, participants were encouraged to write these perspectives on Post-It™ notes… Some key themes for each presentation emerged:
Communications Green Hat themes: Use Keep It Simple (KISS) approach, be concise, consistent, sing from the “same song sheet,” leverage social media, use videos and interactive communications vehicles, ensure diverse voices are consulted and represented.
Black Hat themes: Be careful not to communicate too quickly until there is a clear understanding of the key messages and go-forward plans, make sure we ensure diverse communities are part of the consultations, don’t over-rely on e-mail, don’t try to “engage everyone on EVERYTHING,”-ask and understand “how to address/accommodate multiplicity of languages (and cultures) in Toronto?”
Service Mapping Green Hat themes: The importance of using demographic, community and neighbourhood data to inform this process, looking at ways to optimize access in certain areas, and identify where service gaps occur and build capacity, looking to other sectors for tools and best practices in this area (i.e. healthcare).
Black Hat themes: “If a survey is used to fill gaps in information, there may be barriers to completion” because of the number of surveys that agencies are asked to complete, there is a risk that some services may get missed – not all agencies are 100% funded by MCYS but deliver mental health services to youth, lack of standard service definitions, “Everyone needs to define services in the same way” and be consistent, rigourous in their sharing of information.”
Centralized Point of Access (CPA) Green Hat themes: “Could finally get good data,” “Can we piggyback on infrastructure our ideas of a 211/findhelp.ca?”
Black Hat themes: “A CPA must not mean youth having insurmountable barriers to face-to-face contact,” “you need one organization dedicated to this complex role,” “if clients find the right door you better make sure something is behind it,” “What happens to the successful walk-in programs?
Knowledge, Information, Data, Systems k/i/d/s Green Hat themes: Participants saw great value in a single system for data collection and performance measurement, “Don’t try to solve all of the data problems, be practical and realistic,” “It would be great to have a common databases to which the entire system has access including other sectors like health, education, etc”.
Black Hat themes: Participants cautioned the working group to focus in on privacy, security and training considerations, there was concern about new solutions being impacted by a lack of accurate consistent data collection given how busy frontline staff can be. “We need one database…”