Annual Report for 2021-2022

April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022

From Our Leaders

Dear members of the Roberts/Smart Centre community,

As we emerge from pandemic restrictions, we reflect on the tremendous resiliency our team and the youth we serve have shown. We must also acknowledge the effects that the last few years have had on the mental well-being of our community’s most vulnerable youth.

The Canadian Mental Health Association cites that 1 in 5 children and youth have at least one diagnosable mental health disorder that causes significant distress and impaired functioning at home, at school, with peers, or in the community. We serve the most serious of these cases in Ontario.

Mental health problems appear in children and youth of all social classes and backgrounds but there are significantly higher rates for those coming from socio-economically depressed, Indigenous, and racialized backgrounds. Consequences can include poor academic achievement, substance abuse, conflict with the law, the inability to live independently or hold down a job, health problems and suicidality.

Without the proper mental health treatment, these consequences can follow into adulthood, affecting the individual, their family and friends, entire communities, and the healthy development of the next generation.

It is against this backdrop, and to address these issues, that our team worked diligently in 2021-2022 to advocate for change, build strength through partnerships, and provide our youth with a safe and supportive environment to heal while receiving innovative mental health treatment.

We invite you to discover some of our accomplishments of the past fiscal year.

Warm regards,
Simon Brazier  President and Chair, Board of Directors
Dr. Catherine Van Vliet  Executive Director

Girl in Cannoe

Continually Innovating Treatment for Youth Living with Complex Mental Health Needs

Roberts/Smart Centre speaks to a community-based approach.

We are dedicated to continuous improvement, ensuring our approaches reflect the latest knowledge about effective treatment of high-needs youth.

Knowledge is sought from research bodies and exchanged with other children’s mental health centres who are demonstrating excellence. Also, we collaborate with organizations that have developed innovative treatment models and are committed to adapting to new information and to incorporating leading practices into programming.

As a research partner with McGill’s Centre for Research on Children and Families (CRCF), and as a member of the Canadian Consortium on Child and Youth Trauma, we are exploring ways to strengthen individual and community resilience. Purposeful attention to and consideration of issues related to systemic violence, structural inequalities and cultural safety is paramount to our work.

Research is also helping to shape the dialogue on secure treatment and community reintegration. In December of 2021, Minister Tibollo, Ontario’s Associate Minister for Mental Health and Addictions, toured our Secure Treatment Centre to learn more about how our programs support youth with complex mental health issues from Ottawa and across the province. We were proud to share insights on the province’s first Secure Community Reintegration Program, a novel approach to help ensure that successes achieved by our youth while in secure care are sustained and built upon before returning to the community. The Community Reintegration Program also serves to mitigate discharge failures when unforeseen circumstances lead to delays in accepting youth back into the community.

The Canadian Mental Health Association cites that 1 in 5 children and youth have at least one diagnosable mental health disorder that causes significant distress and impaired functioning at home, at school, with peers, or in the community. We serve the most serious of these cases in Ontario.

WHO WE HELP

Day Treatment Programs

In high schools across Ottawa, 29 francophone and 39 anglophone students received support.

Parents and Families

20 families received community-based support and 20 parents took Collaborative Problem-Solving workshops.

CORATH

In its inaugural year, CORATH served 46 clients and received 128 drop-in centre visits.

Open Live-In Treatment

In need of 24/7 care, 30 youths stayed in one of our two Open Live-In facilities in Ottawa.

Community Reintegration

We provided support to 16 youths transitioning back into their community and their family.

Secure Treatment

Court-mandated and for the most severe cases, 12 youths received 24/7 care in our facility in Ottawa.

More on Secure and Live-In Treatment

We operate three treatment facilities for youth that require 24-hour support. They include two open Live-in facilities in homes in residential neighbourhoods and a Secure Treatment facility.

Located in Ottawa, these programs welcomed youth and worked with communities from across Ontario. 

Ontario Ministry of Health Logo Black and white

Advocating for Change

As a surveyor with Accreditation Canada and an active member of the Ontario Quality Standards Committee, we play both a key role in advancing Health Ontario’s quality standards program, and a broader role in both Ontario’s and Canada’s health systems. Our leaders work collaboratively to recommend ways in which our own quality standards and other clinical care standards can become a reality. Our voice and advocacy was heard at pivotal decision points – we were invited to attend a provincial pre-budget consultation. It was an honour to speak to youth mental health and share insights and innovative approaches with the province’s Ministers. Considered collegial leaders in mental health treatment and navigation, our participation in several regional and provincial tables both enriches our approach and informs our work with diverse populations and communities.

Our role within the leadership of the provincial Complex Transition Fund is just one of many ways we seek to strengthen mental health and addictions services in communities under Ontario’s Roadmap to Wellness. While we look to play an important role in providing specialized care for children and youth with complex mental health needs, we also recognize that the demand for mental health services continues to outstrip our collective capacity to deliver on what is required in the wake of the pandemic and its ensuing isolation.

Ontario Supporting children and youth with complex mental health and addictions needs

BUILDING STRENGTH THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS

The Roberts/Smart Centre is dedicated to cooperative planning and collaborative service relationships with community partners. Our Integrated Plan of Care for each client involves caregivers/families, and service providers from different agencies, organizations, and from across the various sectors (mental health, social, education, health, addictions, vocational, and recreation).

Building awareness, across the province

Awareness of our programs is generated through established community partnerships with referrals from local organizations such as CHEO, Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa, the Crisis Line, Youth Services Bureau, Crossroads, Coordinated Access, and through well-established referral patterns with the Ottawa District School Board, the Ottawa Catholic School Board and the Ottawa Police Service.

As a provincial provider, we work closely with organizations across the province including mental health and service providers, Indigenous communities and organizations, and child and family wellness agencies.

Serving the most vulnerable youth and families

Referrals target our community’s most vulnerable youth and families, including those from socio-economically depressed backgrounds, with a particular focus on identifying those most at risk of social isolation or needing support in building strength and resilience as a family unit.

These close partnerships help to achieve the highest quality standards, providing valuable feedback on ways in which services can be improved to enable children, youth and families to function better at home and in the community.

A focus on mental health in the community

We are prioritizing new Ministry or other funding investments in innovative models, models which are community-based and consolidate mental health resources within community organizations. Our models are quickly gaining traction as innovative approaches to addressing youth mental health.

Anti-Human Trafficking

As we announced last year at the launch of CORATH (Creating Opportunities and Resources Against Human Trafficking), the prevalence of human trafficking in the Ottawa Region has long been a growing concern amongst service providers, health practitioners, educators and law enforcement.

Our collaborative’s increased efforts to promote human trafficking prevention and intervention, alongside streamlining supports, informs our holistic approach to helping youth feel safe and supported. CORATH’s newest partner, a New Day, will support the development of a training module for service providers and the educational sector.

New funding has also enabled the expansion of the program to support Indigenous and LGBTQ2+ female populations, aged 12 to 24, living in rural communities in Prescott Russell, who have been or are at risk of being trafficked through sexual exploitation.

Niikaniganaw

Niikaniganaw (All My Relations) is an Indigenous approach to facilitating culturally safe and stigma-free mental health care for Indigenous Communities.

Our interest in supporting this work is well represented by Dr. Layman-Pleet, our Director of Secure Treatment.

With a B.Sc. (Biology) from McMaster University and a Medical Degree and post-graduate training in psychiatry and sub-specialty training in child and adolescent psychiatry from the University of Ottawa, Dr. Layman-Pleet has also completed training in gender and sexuality from Rainbow Health Ontario, Guelph University and the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health.

Preventing problematic substance use and related harm

The Preventure Programme, a targeted intervention to prevent problematic substance use and related harm is proving to be particularly beneficial for youth with significant risk profiles. Over the course of the last year, our partnership with Rideauwood has resulted in a number of our clients receiving individualized plans to address substance abuse issues and improve mental health outcomes.

Likewise, our partnership with the Parents Lifeline of Eastern Ontario (PLEO) has greatly benefitted parents, caregivers and siblings who need support, as caring for a child with intensive mental health needs can be exhausting and overwhelming.

RSC Youth and Staff in Action

Over the course of the last year our front-line staff persisted in putting the safety and well-being of our youth first, ensuring that they could continue with their education, participate in individualized recreational and family activities, and just generally be a kid.

Activities like ice fishing and therapeutic camping helped youth connect with nature and build positive childhood memories.

Bell Let’s Talk would later enable Indigenous youth from RSC to take part in a “Learning on the Land” adventure at Camp Misabe (Where Giants Walk) in Kitigan Zibi where they had lessons in canoeing, the importance of teamwork and of never leaving anyone behind. Youth spent the day swimming in the river, having a bush lunch, learning the history of smoking delicious moose meat and sharing a lot of laughs.

Pursuits like these would not be possible without the support of fundraising events like the seventh annual RSC Golf Tournament. With the help of title sponsors Mattamy Homes and Tomlinson Group, and the generous support of CUPE Local 2376 (that’s short for RSC’s fabulous front-line staff), a whopping $30,000 was raised. A big thank you to Omar and his incredible organizing committee, our amazing sponsors, players and volunteers.

Financials 2021-2022

Revenue - $9,157,025

%

Ministry of Health

%

Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services

%

Fee for Service

%

Charity, Grants & Other Revenue

%

CSDCEO (school board)

Expenses - $8,808,073

%

Secure Treatment Program

%

Intensive Treatment Programs

%

Community Programs & Other

%

Anti-Human Trafficking Program

%

Live-in Treatment Programs

Celebrating Those Making a Difference

On a chilly night in early December, staff gathered under the stars in the courtyard of our Secure Treatment facility for a Winter Celebration to honour our Long Service Award recipients. Their commitment and compassion for the youth that we serve shines brightly each day.

Thank you for making such a difference!

Celebrating Long Service Award Recipients 2021-2022:

Years

  • Kyle Y
  • Michel D
  • Nicole G
  • Stephanie U

Years

  • Brendan S
  • Dean G
  • Garth H
  • Sebastien S
  • Tom P

Years

  • Amanda J
  • Elizabeth T
  • Lisanne B

Years

  • Aprill C
  • Robert A
  • Taylor G

Putting our funding to work

We wish to thank our government, community, and corporate partners for your generous support of our work. Your partnership and support have been essential to planning and executing our projects and initiatives.

 

 
Canadian Red Cross
Ontario Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services
Bell Let’s Talk
Ontario Ministry of Health
Ottawa Community Foundation
Employment and Social Development Canada
 
Cheers to all of our generous community fundraisers including events like Jabulani Vineyard and Winery’s annual Christmas event. We may not have been able to gather in the same way as years gone past, but support for youth mental health remains stronger than ever!

And thank you to all who donated to our Annual Campaign, “Transforming the Lives of Ontario’s Most Vulnerable Youth”. With your support, RSC has been able to help kids pursue their education and develop life skills while receiving the mental health treatment they need.

Finally, if you have ever questioned where funding goes, if it gets to the people who need it the most, if it is truly making a difference, here are some reflections from our youth and families.

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I tried to end my life on several occasions which included me setting a fire in a house. Secure helped me feel safe and any time a problem came up I didn’t have the choice to run. I started to feel safe because staff proved that they cared for us and put us first.

J., former RSC youth
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Because of your compassion, understanding and hard work, I have a daughter who isn’t as broken as she once was. A daughter I want to love and help. A daughter who has a life ahead of her with many more skills to face the continuing challenges life can bring our way.

A., parent of former RSC youth
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If I could tell other youth who are dealing with mental health issues, with behavioural issues, with learning disabilities, anything, it would be that, as corny as it sounds, it can get better.

K., former RSC youth