What is the system challenge?

In Durham Region, children, youth and families living with mental illness and addictions often struggle to access appropriate services. Accessing needed services early in life can help improve long term outcomes and reduce the likelihood that mental illness and addictions will continue to impact children and youth into adulthood. (Kessler, R.C., Avenevoli, S. and Merikangas, K.R. (2001)).  

What are we doing about it?

To increase access to appropriate care for children and youth, The Durham Service Collaborative, with support from CAMH’s Provincial System Support Program, developed an intervention specifically for the region that builds on community strengths and aligns with other work already in progress. The Durham Collaboration Framework (DCFW) is a cross‐sector approach to service delivery that aims to improve collaboration among the agencies, organizations, and services supporting children, youth and families with multiple needs who are already accessing services, but whose needs are not being met.

There are a number of distinct but overlapping elements to the DCFW. These are:

  • The DCFW Oversight Committee - a small group of agency representatives and community stakeholders who provide high-level guidance and support;
  • The Durham Collaborative Planning Process (DCPP) - Involves the identification of children, youth and families in need, followed by collaborative and creative planning with traditional and non-traditional care providers, children, youth and families. The process results in a single shared achievement plan that meets the unique needs of children/youth and families;
  • The Achievement Plan - describes the overall achievements that children, youth and families are working towards, and outlines the steps, roles, responsibilities and timelines that have been agreed upon to meet these achievements;
  • Network of Champions – A community of practice formed by agency champions involved in the project;
  • Shared education and training - Region‐wide training and workshops related to capacity‐building and implementation of DCPP processes.

Taken together, these elements of the DCFW will improve the coordination of supports in Durham region for children and youth with complex mental health and addictions related needs.

?What's this?

Full Implementation

Over an eight-month period, five youth and their families were formally supported through the full DCPP, while approximately 16 youth have accessed additional supports through the Network of Champions table. An unexpected positive outcome has been that fewer children and youth have required access to the full DCPP than expected due to increased collaboration at the level of the Network of Champions.

Since the beginning of the project, Durham Region service providers report the following benefits:

  • Timely access to services by children, youth and families involved.
  • Positive outcomes in the children, youth and families who have participated in the DCPP.
  • Improved quality of collaboration and shared accountability among Durham Region service providers. 

Our family struggled trying to find services all in one area, with the collaborative everything was brought together. To see that many resources available was amazing...The way (the DCPP) helped us, I can see this being helpful for anyone in our situation.

— Parents who participated in the DCPP

Who is involved?

Durham Service Collaborative consists of approximately 30 community stakeholders from:

  • mental health;
  • health;
  • developmental;
  • justice;
  • child welfare;
  • education;
  • settlement sectors;
  • Aboriginal and Francophone services; and
  • youth and family members.
The Durham Collaborative Planning Process
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For more information, please contact:

Jonathan Berges, Regional Implementation Coach
416-535-8501 ext. 30323