Spring Update on Special Needs Strategy Implementation to Date

The Ministries of Children and Youth Services, Health and Long-Term Care, and Education posted a March 2018 Update to the Integrated Rehabilitation Services section of the Special Needs Strategy website. The update speaks to current initiatives within Phase 1 implementation of the strategy which include:

Transition of School-based Services to Children's Treatment Centres from LHINs
Effective April 1, 2018 responsibility for contracts for school-based rehabilitation services in publicly funded schools will transfer from the LHINs to Children's Treatment Centres, except where services are embedded in the District School Board.  In fact, transitions are expected to be effected between April 1st and August with all transitions complete by September 28, 2018.  Several important memos from the Ministries clarifying components related to this transition and the protection of service levels and processes have been posted to the SNS website;

To support the legislative mandate to transfer responsibility for school-based services to the MCYS, regulations are under development.  The proposed regulation was posted for consultation.  View OSOT's response which identified concerns about the separation of approach for oversight/funding of public and private schools.  Private schools and children who are home schooled will continue to access rehabilitation services funded by the LHINs.  OSOT has expressed concern not only because it is not clear how service integration will improve for children/families in private schools, but also, because members report declining investment in OT services ​through LHIN funded school health support services. 

Provincial Advisory Group
A Provincial Advisory Group (PAG), composed of clinical experts, sector partners and education stakeholders, was established jointly by MCYS and EDU to provide advice and feedback to the ministries regarding continued implementation of integrated rehabilitation services in the Ontario context.  OSOT has 2 representatives on this Advisory Group and is well represented by Debra Kennedy and Sandra Sahagian.  Deb and Sandra are Chair and members respectively of the Society's School-Based OT Team.

The PAG held its first meeting on December 14, 2017 during which members identified and discussed key issues and challenges identified by IR Steering Committees through their initial proposal development process.  At its second meeting on January 31, 2018, PAG members reviewed various tiered service delivery model examples and compiled implementation strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to each example. Members also had an initial discussion regarding tools and mechanisms that could support continued implementation of IR to meet the needs of children, youth and families in Ontario.

Coordinated Service Planning
As of January 2018, 32 of 34 service delivery areas have reached consensus on a Coordinating Agency to lead the local implementation of CSP. Of these, 23 areas have begun serving children, youth and their families through a CSP model. MCYS continues to work with the two remaining service delivery areas to confirm their Coordinating Agency and proposed model and provide direction as they prepare for phased implementation. Implementation continues to focus on building the capacity of Coordinating Agencies to deliver CSP in a way that is child-, youth- and family-centered, accountable, and built on strong partnerships.  Once Coordinating Agencies have signed a service agreement with MCYS, they join the Provincial Network of Coordinating Agencies, a forum to discuss best practices and lessons learned, and share tools and resources.

Implications for Occupational Therapists
Significant changes are underway as components of the goals to achieve an integrated rehabilitation services model.  Members are encouraged to;
  • Keep abreast of information and developments in your Service Delivery Area

  • Participate in OSOT's School-based OT Team Survey of members working in the school system.  The Team is seeking input relating to your knowledge about the strategy and how best OSOT can support you to new service delivery models.  Don't hesitate to pass the survey link along to other colleagues. Complete the short survey now!

  • Connect with your service provider agency to ensure that there is consultation with the local Planning tables

  • Familiarize yourself with the Tiered Service Delivery Framework proposed in the DRAFT Program Guidelines for the Integrated Delivery of Rehabilitation Services  (which are currently being revised).  This model is based on the Partnering for Change Service Delivery Model.  View an informative webinar,Partnering for Change:  An Innovative Service for Integrated Service Delivery  presented by Dr. Wenonah Campbell and Dr. Cheryl Missiuna on behalf of the P4C Team.

  • Take time to view Ontario Special Needs Strategy webinar  The F-Words in Childhood Disability:  A strengths based approach to children’s health and development”, delivered by Dr. Peter Rosenbaum, Co-Founder CanChild Center for Childhood Research, Professor of Pediatrics, McMaster University