Better Together is Children’s Treatment Network’s (CTN) theme for our new strategic plan, the foundation of our work for 2022-2027. It is a collective call to action to come together and support our mission: together with our partners, we work with kids, youth and their families to support development and well-being. Better Together is a new step forward and one that is aligned to our vision: a vibrant community where all kids, youth and families belong.
This call to action holds our values at its core: inclusion, collaboration, responsibility and innovation. By building a sense of belonging and championing equity for everyone, we can achieve inclusion. By collaborating, we will evolve, support each other and have fun along the way. We hold ourselves to high standards. Our sense of responsibility requires us to provide services through diligent accountability and stewardship practices. Lastly, we are innovative. By being responsive to change, we are exploring new ways to grow and are leading with creativity and agility.
In this year’s annual report, we are going to share some of the stories of the kids, youth and families we serve and examples from our invaluable network of employees, volunteers, service providers and partners whose passion and commitment allows us to achieve our vision. As you’ll read throughout the report or watch this Year in Review video, we have already begun to embody the goals of our new strategic directions. We hope you enjoy reading our 2022-2023 report and that it conveys the immense pride we have in serving our incredible community of 29,000 kids and youth with disabilities and developmental needs and their families.
This past fall, CTN launched its new strategic plan 2022-2027. The journey to build this plan began at the start of 2022 and included discussions with over 220 individuals connected to CTN, who shared feedback about their experiences, what is important to them and the strengths and challenges with the network. Insights from these kids, youth, families, community partners, employees and services providers, informed the development of our new strategic plan and four strategic directions:
As part of launching CTN’s new strategic plan, an evening of family fun was hosted at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in Vaughan Mills with more than 170 kids, youth and adults in attendance. Attendees experienced all that LEGOLAND Discovery Centre had to offer in their wheelchair accessible environment including rides, LEGO displays, playgrounds, build centres and more. CTN also hosted a strategic plan launch event in Barrie, featuring a LEGO Master Builder as well as a virtual event for those who could not attend in person.
Several ministers, including the Honourable Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education and MPP for King-Vaughan, Laura Smith, the MPP for Thornhill, the Honourable Michael Parsa, MPP for Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill and current Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, attended our strategic plan launch event.
When developing our new strategic plan, we also developed our first-ever storybook titled, The Magic Key. The book shares the concepts of our strategic plan through a youthful and engaging lens. CTN would like to thank Devon Mayor, a CTN employee, for her assistance in the writing and development of the story. The illustrations were produced by Abigail Roscoe, a disabled artist who strives to challenge ableism in her work. The book was also translated into six languages to make the book accessible to as many kids, youth and families as possible. Watch a special reading of The Magic Key with Jack, a child who receives services from CTN and his mom.
CTN launched its equity, diversity, inclusion, Indigeneity and accessibility (EDIIA) initiative in September 2022. The focus of the initiative is to build a more equitable environment where inequities can be identified and systemic barriers removed to allow for improved access and opportunities for kids, youth and families. CTN is focusing on three key areas for this work: education sessions, an equity audit and a sustainable action plan.
CTN introduced a three-term, educational curriculum for employees and partners. During the first term, training sessions provided foundational knowledge regarding anti-oppression, anti-racism and our shared history. During the second-term, participants used virtual reality technology to practice reflecting on bias and microaggressions through a series called Let’s Talk About Race and participated in San’yas Cultural Safety Training, a national online training program for health professionals. The third term focuses on self-directed learning.
Work on the equity audit began in spring 2023 and included engagement with clients and families, partners, employees and communities. The audit focuses on the workplace, governance and services that CTN directly delivers: Equipment Loan Program, Child and Family Participation Program and Intake and Service Navigation. It will examine ways in which to remove systemic barriers that prevent full participation, access and opportunities for employees and the kids, youth and families we serve. When the audit is complete, we will have a snapshot of our current state that will inform our action plan to guide us towards our future, desired state so that we can embed EDIIA in all that we do.
Having access to specialized recreation, therapy and complex clinical equipment is essential for kids and youth with disabilities and developmental needs to participate fully in society. CTN’s Equipment Loan Program (ELP) supports the F-words for Child Development: functioning, family, fitness, fun, friends and future.
CTN’s SHINE peer recognition program recognizes and celebrates employees who exemplify CTN’s values and who foster an extraordinary work culture within the organization. Our Employee Engagement Committee created the program to empower employees to help create a sense of well-being and engagement. In 2022-2023, there was a record high number of SHINE awards! A total of 63 SHINE awards were given to employees who exemplify CTN’s four values of inclusion, collaboration, responsibility and innovation.
This past year, Sienna, aged 10 and her family including her mom Cecilia, her dad Anthony and twin sister Sophia, were involved with the Urgent Response Services (URS) program. Sienna was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when she was four years old and up until recently, her behaviour was manageable. Read Sienna's story
Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag Child & Family Services became a CTN contracted partner agency in 2019 to provide Coordinated Service Planning (CSP) to Indigenous kids and youth with disabilities and developmental needs and their families. The partnership with the Indigenous child well-being agency aligns with CTN’s strategic direction to strive for excellence by removing barriers to equity through the implementation of diversity and inclusion practices as well as building a culture of quality. The evolution of this partnership over the last year has led to innovative ways of embedding Indigenous perspectives into CTN’s approach to service delivery. We created a new position to support URS and CSP as well as Urgent Response respite funds. CTN also partnered with the agency’s knowledge keeper to present on trauma informed care through an Indigenous lens to CTN service providers. Lastly, a student and supervisor from the agency joined CTN’s Community and Family Participation Program (CFPP) co-design project, and supported engagement with Indigenous caregivers on their needs and experiences.
In September 2022, four local organizations marked the grand opening of a shared space in Alliston dedicated to caring for kids and youth with disabilities and developmental needs. The space, known as South Simcoe One Roof, is a partnership between CTN, Catulpa Community Support Services, CLH Developmental Support Services and Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH). Members of the community will experience easy access to specialized services as all four organizations are co-located in one, centrally and conveniently located building on Young Street in Alliston. Programs and services provided include occupational therapy, physiotherapy, family resources, adult protective services, infant hearing and preschool speech and language. Finding these four organizations together under one roof fosters an inclusive and collaborative environment creating a place of belonging and reinforcing a sense of community.
Launching a project to simplify and support access to pediatric medical consultation in Simcoe County
Developing a preschool pathway for kids and families in URS
Adding options to the service delivery model for CTN’s feeding assessment and consultation services to better meet the needs of kids and youth with complex swallowing and feeding difficulties
Developing a virtual module with information on picky eating, so that caregivers can develop positive mealtime routines and expectations, introduce new foods, encourage food exploration, and promote more joyful eating with their kids
Partnering with CTN to design and pilot an early intervention speech model for School Based Rehabilitation Services (SBRS) to provide additional kids with school-based speech services and offer a model of intensive early intervention allowing the right service to be available at the right time for kids and families
STEM Minds is a York Region-based organization that provides science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills to kids and teachers. Since the relationship between CTN and STEM Minds began in 2022, they have provided activities for two CTN Sibshop sessions and in 2023, provided March Break activities. The organization has been successful in securing grants and funding so they can provide free, or nominal cost programming to CTN families. About 40 clients and their siblings have been supported through this partnership and feedback from families has been very positive.
Over the past year, CTN integrated the Local Team Facilitator (LTF) program and the Family Resource Program into the Community and Family Participation Program (CFPP). The program provides a range of valuable supports and services to families, local communities and network partners through the Community and Family Coordinator (CFC) team.
In March 2022 and as part of the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services’ (MCCSS) vision for early intervention and special needs modernization, CTN became a SmartStart Hub (SSH) for families in Simcoe County and York Region. A SSH is an equitable and culturally safe, one-stop point of entry for families seeking help for their child or youth when they have concerns about their development. Families can have exploratory conversations to identify their child’s or youth’s strengths, goals and needs. SSH connects families to services while building partnerships among service providers to improve the experience. CTN’s overarching goal is to modernize and improve access to services using information and technology to meet the diverse needs of the kids and youth we serve.
This past year, CTN transitioned to delivering occupational therapist and physiotherapy using a tiered model of service in Simcoe County schools. The tiered model is a multi-level system of interventions in which each tier represents more intensive services. CTN partners with a service provider organization to connect an occupational therapist (OT) to each school, who works with the educators in supporting students. Tier 1 provides universal strategies to benefit all students. Tier 2 provides targeted services for small groups of students requiring more direct support. Tier 3 provides individual services for students whose needs surpass Tier 1 and Tier 2. Kids receive services as needed at each tier and can receive interventions from more than one tier at the same time.
This new model will allow for earlier identification of student needs, improve a child’s participation at home and school, and build capacity of therapists, educators and families to understand and support those needs.
Financial challenges, particularly in today’s economic landscape, are a reality for many families. Some kids or youth with disabilities and developmental needs might require specialized equipment and supports that are not funded by other sources. CTN’s Family Fund is used to help families address eligible expenses when other funding supports have been exhausted or are not available. Through donations of individuals and companies, the fund supports short-term financial needs for some families. This past year, the Family Fund helped 43 families with funds to buy several pieces of equipment that supported kids and youth at home, at school and in the community. The Fund assisted with transportation and parking costs for medical appointments, an adapted chair, a bath seat, walkers, safety harnesses, as well as several other specialty items.If you would like to apply for support from the Family Fund, please contact your CTN service provider.
CTN is committed to full financial transparency. View the 2022-2023 Statement of Operations for the year April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023.
CTN offers several programs and services through its network that includes specialized clinics and assessments, family programs, rehabilitation services and supports and intake, service navigation and coordinated service planning.
Our partnerships are the foundation of CTN. These partners provide services to families and children and come from the education, healthcare and social/community service sectors. They enable us to provide support to kids and their families at home, school and in the community.
Visit our website at ctnsy.ca for more information about CTN's services and a list of locations in York Region and Simcoe County.