By Jenn Watt
Changes in how the provincial government structures its ministries has presented Point in Time Centre for Children Youth and Parents with challenges in the last year but executive director Marg Cox said there have also been opportunities.
“Everything’s always a challenge and an opportunity and I think one of the real opportunities is that we’ve developed a fantastic relationship with HHHS [Haliburton Highlands Health Services] and with Stephanie [MacLaren] and her team in particular as we’ve worked closely on the Youth Hub” Cox told those attending the organization’s annual general meeting at the new Haliburton County Youth Hub on June 11.
The Ministry of Children and Youth Services is now part of the Ministry of Children Community and Social Services; additionally Cox said mental-health funded services are now under the Ministry of Health.
Cox said Point in Time had joined HHHS in proposing a Haliburton Highlands Ontario Health Team in response to the province’s plan to create more local health governance.
“We’ve joined forces to put in an application together for the Ontario Health Team and I think that will also provide us some opportunities. That level of integration wasn’t achievable before but it may well open up some doors and allow some better planning and local services to work better together” she said.
The AGM was an opportunity to review the achievements in the last year and to review financial statements. Jason Becker of BDO Canada LLP said the audit showed Point in Time’s financial affairs were in good order and that the organization was financially healthy.
President of the board Peter Smith noted that at last year’s AGM the Youth Hub building had just been purchased. He said conversation at the time had been around imagining what the building could be; although renovations aren’t yet complete much has been accomplished and some programming has begun in the space.
Cox took a moment to remember Peter Fearrey who had been instrumental in the renovations and who died in November.
She said once renovations were completed in the basement the youth hub would provide “one-stop shopping for a whole range of services from mental health addictions sexual health [and] physical health.”
Point in Time offers mental health family support and youth justice services through programs such as individual and family counselling play therapy respite programming at the schools summer day camp and court-related supports.
The AGM package includes a letter written by Smith and Cox which highlights the Quick Access Clinics a program that began in 2017 offering free service on a first come first served basis.
“About half the people that attended a Quick Access Clinic Session receive enough service that they don’t require any more service. Another 25 per cent go on to receive up to six sessions and the remaining 25 per cent require longer term or more intensive services. Moving to this process has allowed us to drastically reduce our waiting list and speed up access at the front door which in turn means that issues can get addressed right away instead of getting worse” their message reads.
The meeting ended with presentations recognizing long-serving staff and community members who had contributed to Point in Time. Ten-year employees include Cynthia Hutchinson Melanie Jones and Mary Sisson. Rev. Ken McClure of St. George’s Anglican Church and Sherry Mulholland were given certificates for their support of youth in Haliburton County. Unable to attend but also mentioned were the Knitting for Warmth group and Scott Duggan.