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November 25, 2011 permalink
Children's Mental Health workers, members of OPSEU local 666 in Sudbury, are on strike. They are not the folks who take your children, but the ones who keep them doped up. Here is their handout pamphlet (pdf).
Sudbury - While they haven't been able to negotiate a collective agreement, Paul Jalbert and Dr. Bertrand Guindon agree on one thing — the OPSEU Local 666 strike will be hard on families who need children's mental health services.
Addendum: From Windsor, an article on the takeover of Glengarda Child and Family Services reveals the real treatments constituting children's mental health. You have to look to the last quarter of the enclosed article.
Scathing report prompted WRH takeover of Glengarda
'Seen as a holding tank for children'
WINDSOR, Ont. - Allegations of a “toxic” workplace, harsh treatment of children and a threat by a local school board to cut ties with Glengarda Child & Family Services led to the agency’s recently announced takeover by Windsor Regional Hospital, The Star has learned.
According to an Ontario government report last year, the relationship between Glengarda and the community agencies it worked with had deteriorated so much that it was unlikely the mental health facility could correct problems with its day treatment program by itself.
“It is difficult to support the notion that Glengarda can ‘fix’ the current situation with a ‘work plan’ and some ‘program changes,” said the scathing report obtained by The Star. “It is unlikely that this approach would bring a lasting resolution or would bridge the substantial rift that has been created with community partners. Trust has been shattered. A drastic rethink of Glengarda’s current approach will be required to move forward.”
Other highlights of the Clinical and Financial Review of Glengarda, dated Oct. 30, 2010, by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services:
“At times children are discharged with very little notice to community making successful reintegration difficult.”
“Glengarda is seen as a ‘holding tank’ for children rather than a treatment program.”
“Many comments from community partners about ‘children coming out worse’ lacking in any coping strategies and or behavioural management strategies.”Three weeks ago, an agreement to create a one-stop shop for school-aged children’s mental health services was billed as an amalgamation of services between Windsor Regional Hospital and Glengarda. In reality, Windsor Regional will take control of operations, including the $3.2-million annual budget of Glengarda, which helps about 300 six- to 12-year-olds every year with a staff of about 70.
Interim executive director Alan Goyette was brought in to replace Beth Kuhn, who resigned as the head of Glengarda shortly after the ministry completed its review. Goyette said conditions have improved drastically at the agency over the last year thanks to the report and dedicated staff.
“The Clinical and Financial Review really does not describe Glengarda in November of 2011,” Goyette said. “We’re a very different organization with different approaches to everything.”
Goyette is a former social worker with the Greater Essex County District School Board — which had served notice to pull its 10 teachers from the school program at Glengarda before the ministry spent two days at the agency in September 2010 and interviewed 53 stakeholders.
He said he has implemented training programs with his staff, whom he lauds as committed and professional, and says procedures and morale have improved remarkably.
“Right now there is not a toxic environment here,” said Goyette, noting that his agency has helped many children and their families improve their lives over the years. “That report really paints a picture of a different time period.”
David Musyj, CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital, said though he has not seen the ministry review of Glengarda, he is aware of it and will bear it in mind as the process of taking over the facility unfolds over the coming year.
“We have to go forward with the process with our eyes wide open and look at the recommendations that were made,” Musyj said. “We have a very strong culture and financial performance at Windsor Regional Hospital and we’re confident that will continue when this process eventually takes place.
“At the end of the day, what is important to us is that children and families benefit.”
The ministry document says the agency went through an “extremely turbulent” time, and notes that some staff acknowledged they sometimes restrained children because they didn’t have the resources to better handle the situation.
According to the report, a community partner “described the traumatic impact of witnessing a young girl being dragged down the hall by four staff.”
A former employee at Glengarda told The Star about witnessing a rape victim being restrained on the floor by four adults with a man standing between her legs.
“It was inappropriate,” said the former employee, who noticed other questionable practices. “It was commonplace for children to be locked in safe rooms for hours with staff blocking the door.”
Goyette said one of the first issues he addressed when he took over at Glengarda was the use of restraint, which he said is only used as a last resort to protect children and staff.
“The numbers of restraints have gone down significantly and the ones we do have tend to be a lot shorter than they used to be,” Goyette said. “We do not drag kids. These are things that I implemented immediately when I came in. Now you only step in and out.”
Goyette said each child’s individual crisis-management plan is now more detailed and includes more awareness of personal history, including trauma.
Goyette said the report has led to good news, in that Glengarda now works better with other agencies, and that staff have had increased training with crisis management, for when children are occasionally out of control.
Best of all, Goyette said, the new one-stop shop model will make it easier for school-aged children to receive the mental health care they need, with a streamlined process through one intake agency: Windsor Regional Hospital.
“Whatever happened before happened,” Goyette said. “But what we’re doing is moving forward and making things better for kids and families.”
Source: Windsor Star, pointed out by Dolores Sicheri