Our Community at Work Workshop

2004 Workshop defined key components that ultimately where the catalyst for Timmins Transition Committee proposal

Disability time lines are:

Our Community at Work

Developing Transition Strategies
For
Children & Youth with Special Needs

Timmins, Ontario

June 3 & 4, 2004

Future Planning & Monitoring Summary
Report compiled by
The facilitator of the conference
Lindsay Moir

Goals of Our Community at Work

The following goals were established by the Steering Committee:

Sharing and recording a first draft of all community agencies and their perceived role in serving children and youth with special needs in Timmins. This is the first step in creating a database of service providers.
Identifying issues and concerns which impede the delivery of coordinated services to children & youth with special needs in Timmins.

Begin the process of developing community-wide, multi-agency responses to selected issues and barriers which impede the delivery of coordinated services to children & youth with special needs in Timmins. Work Groups to be identified at the conference.

The first step will be to use strategies to find solutions through better utilization of existing community resources before moving to seek additional resources.

Development of a process which will build a confidential database of clients from age of identification through adulthood, which can be easily maintained and accessed by all community partners serving children & youth with special needs in Timmins. Good data is essential for community planning so that services can be adapted and restructured for this population.

Identify, expand and formalize existing collaboarative projects to include more agencies and to make these success stories known to all service providers and clients and families.

Publish a summative report within 60 days of the conference and make this available to participating agencies and the community. This report is to be drafted by Lindsay Moir and edited, translated and distributed by the Steering Committee.

Identify gaps in service for children & youth with special needs in Timmins.

Identify duplication in the provision of services to children & youth with special needs in Timmins, with the express goal of freeing up resources to address the gaps in services to children & youth with special needs identified above.

Process

June 3, 2004

The initial session was a presentation by L. Moir with reviewed the “ground rules” for the day and gave examples of exemplary practice from other jurisdictions across Canada.

Each agency was invited to make a 15 minute presentation which outlined the services that they provide in the Timmins community. They provided examples of specific collaborative initiatives which have resulted in better service for children and youth with special needs in Timmins. Each agency was asked to identify the barriers they encounter in providing services. Five minutes was allowed for questions of clarification.

Twenty five of the twenty nine agencies invited made presentations to the conference, including health agencies, school boards and post secondary institutions, community & social agencies, French and English service providers and the Native Friendship Centre.

At the end of the day, the Steering Committee and the facilitator met and summarized the Opportunities Identified and the Barriers Identified.

An evening Public Forum with parental input was held to get community input from a client perspective.

June 4, 2004

The Opportunities Identified and the Barriers Identified were shared with, and clarified for, the agency representatives. After the morning break, The Opportunities and Barriers were “ re-written “ into Issues to be addressed. The Issues were written on cards and placed on tables. Participants “self-selected” the issues they were most passionate about and wished to work on. The balance of the day was divided into two working sessions, including a working lunch, to allow people to be on two Work Groups. After the afternoon break, the Group Leaders reported their action plan to the full conference. (copies of the Work Group Leader’s Outline reports are attached as Appendix A).

Barriers Identified

“fear”/ takeover worries x x x x x

Waiting lists x x x x x x

Lack of lead time (planning) x x x x x x x x x x x x

Scheduled agency interaction x x

Conflicting/uncertain mandates x x x x x x x x

Lack of staff x x

Limited resources in North x

Reduced funding/ cuts x

No “case management” protocol x x x x x x x x x x x x

Info sharing/privacy concerns x x x x

“either/or” mandates x x x x x

overlapping/ competing agencies x x x x x x x x

parent indifference x x

lack of training in collaboration x x x x

geography/distance x x x

lack of community awareness x x

transportation/location of services x

cultural /lifestyle issues x x

lack of training coordination x x x x

( x = each time this barrier was identified in agency presentations)

Opportunities Identified

Respite Care at College level
Mentoring programs for families, clients
Joint Placement bank for shadowing, W.E., Coop Ed
Coordinated Employer Development/ Training
Independent Living Experience
“Transition Planning Guide” as a road map
Integrate community programs into high school program
Write inter-agency protocols
Special Needs Job Bank
Individual Transition Plans for 14+
Develop “Transition Guide for Families”
Data base tracking by exceptionality from 0-21 years
Develop “Timmins Directory of Services for Children & Youth with Special Needs”
Self advocacy skills training
Joint Professional Development/ Training calendar
Write Curriculum for transition/bridging HS to Community
Social Skills programming
Program for the “more able”
Open Houses/ Orientation for College Programs

0-6 Years

client location: home, community program, JK/SK

Transitional Issues:
Assessment/ diagnosis/ identification
Health support
Therapy ie Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, Speech & Language
Parent Education/ Training
Awareness of community & School options
Transition to school and School Health Support Services
7-13 Years

client location: home, elementary school

Transition Issues:
School Health Support Services
Therapies vs. Programs delivered by school
Respite
Access & support in recreational programs
Transition to High School
14-21 Years

client location: home, high school

Transition Issues:

Job Shadowing, Work Experience, Coop Ed
Job & Employability Skills
Life Skills/ Independent Living
Credit vs. Alternate education
Lead time for community planning
“tracking info”
knowledge about community options
transition to post-secondary programs
respite
“case management” protocol
access & support in recreational programs
Issues Identified and selected by Work Groups
Single Point of Access
Service Coordination Coordination
Develop timelines for Transition to Community(10-21yrs)
Coordinated Approach to Preparation for Employment
Assessment & Diagnosis Coordination
Development of Alternative Programs & Curriculums ( ie Social Skills, Organizational Skills, Self Advocacy Skills, Behaviour Management)
Developing a Comprehensive Tracking/ Database of special needs children & youth for community-wide planning
Transition to Post-secondary Programs
Joint Community-wide Training Plan
Each Group developed an outline, which included an Action Plan (Next Steps), leaders for each of the Next Steps and a Timeline for Development of the Action Plan (see Appendix A-available to local participants only)

Facilitator’s Comments

The energy and enthusiasm of the participants on June 4th was extremely encouraging and bodes well for the community of Timmins. The wide array of agencies who made exemplary presentations to inform the community of their services, collaborative partnerships, and the barriers they encounter while serving children & youth with special needs, speaks well of the Timmins service providers.

The participants from the school boards were excellent and their energy and enthusiasm was contagious. Their level of commitment was enormous.

The participation of a program supervisor from the Ministry of Community and Social Services and Child & Youth Services brought valuable information and perspective to our deliberations.

Participation from representatives of the Ministries of Health and Education would have added value to our conference.

The commitment of the Steering Committee, both in the planning stages and during the conference itself made this activity successful. In an activity like Our Community at Work, successfully recording and producing documents and summaries, with very short turnaround is a very important function. The ability to hold short ad-hoc meetings to refine documents (and even processes) is key to capturing the evolution of barriers and opportunities “on the fly”. The Timmins Steering Committee made this seem “effortless”, and they should be commended for their selfless effort and flexibility.

Northern College was an excellent facility and a good host.

The presentations on June 3rd informed the conference that there are a great number of good things happening in Timmins from a great number of service providers.

The lack of coordination and communication was the emerging issue. This is hardly surprising in a situation where the service delivery model has evolved over a long period of time. Agencies and institutions responded to a changing community with ad hoc solutions, within their particular mandate and resources of the day!

The Public Input Session on the evening of June 3rd, told us that parents and clients find the current “system” of service provision very difficult to understand and to access.

The level of enthusiasm and commitment to the planning activities on June 4th, shows that a significant segment of the service providers serving children & youth with special needs in Timmins now have a shared understanding of the issues which faces the community, and are willing to commit to address the issues. There are segments of the community to be brought on board— but there is a sufficient “critical mass” and information to move forward with confidence.

Finally, on personal note, I would like to thank ALL of the people I encountered in Timmins both at the conference and in in the motel, restaurants, stores and historical places of interest for their hospitality. Even without a gold mine, Timmins would still be “the gem of the north”.

Appendices:

Appendix A Work Group Outlines
(Provided for local use only)

Appendix B Guiding Principles for Transition

Please refer to Website:

English:
http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/fre/general/elemsec/speced/transiti/transition.htn

French:
http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/general/elemsec/speced/transiti/transition.htn

Appendix C Rules for Public Forum

Appendix D Agency Presentation Form

Appendix E Resource List

(This is included in your conference “Our Community at Work” binder of June 2004)