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2014-04-07 at 18:01

Increasing demand

President of the Thunder Bay Children
Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com
President of the Thunder Bay Children's Centre board of directors Coun. Rebecca Johnson (left) speaks with MPP and NDP children and youth services critic Monique Taylor on Monday.
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By Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com

The city faces many of the same children’s mental health funding shortfalls as the rest of Ontario, says the NDP’s provincial child and youth services critic.

MPP Monique Taylor was in Thunder Bay on Monday, and among her stops was a meeting with the board of directors for the Thunder Bay Children’s Centre.

She, along with Thunder Bay-Atikokan NDP nominee Mary Kozorys, listened to the members discuss the challenges facing the organization. Taylor described visiting with workers and agencies as her “most important” duty as an opposition critic.

What they heard is much of what she has heard throughout Ontario.

“(Funding) is one of the biggest challenges we face across the province,” Taylor said. “It seems to be the same everywhere.”

John Friday, Thunder Bay Children’s Centre director of management services, says it is difficult to handle growing demand while having questions about whether there is adequate funding.

“There continue to be issues with long-term funding and we’re concerned about the stability of that,” Friday said. “There are increased demands for our services and the complexity of the cases we’re seeing is increasing and as a result our waitlists continue to grow.”

The Thunder Bay Children’s Centre currently has a waitlist with close to 500 names.

Friday added the organization is being forced to be creative to maintain their current service capacity without receiving funding increases.

They have to rely on community partners, such as the United Way, for assistance

Friday attributes the complexity of the cases increasing due to “mental health determinants,” such as poverty, housing and broader health issues.

He thinks the waitlists and higher demand are consequences of previous cuts to the industry.

“A number of years ago the ministry direction was such that there were fewer resources were put into public education and prevention and I think we’re starting to see the impact of that,” Friday said.

“Prevention is a key area and it improves people’s lives immediately. “It’s obviously much better for the clients to deal with the issues early on before they suffer more and before the issues become more significant.”

He added the expanding need is evidence that investment into prevention and education creates longer term savings.

 

Follow Matt Vis on Twitter: @MattVis

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Comments

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homelessteen says:
As soon as your organization (and the psychiatric community) stops treating defiance as a mental disorder your demand should decrease dramatically.

4/7/2014 8:57:15 PM
Interested says:
This is too bad. There are many many families in need of help and support and without it will not be living in a healthy situation. My feeling is that financial resources from ministries is inappropriately distributed, without an accurate view of what is really needed. Bureaucracy is likely hindering receiving enough funding for this organization, while other services are likely highly funded who are redundant. I know that there are organizations that are heavily funded who have no usefulness today. It is very unfortunate that distribution is based on administrators who are following protocols, rather than on the real needs of children and families. Financing is always unbalanced according to "guidelines" and waste means that waiting lists will continue to grow while other organizations have little function and an overflow of staffing and resources.
4/7/2014 10:18:16 PM
j_northey says:
A big shame, but not shock. Politicians have said for years that 'children are a priority' but rarely does the funding match the statement.

My family has used the Children's Centre and they have been helpful. It is a nightmare to deal with the issues children can have and any studies I've seen says that money invested in children (especially in their mental health) results in a massive return later on as you reduce the risk of drug use, of prison time, and skyrocket the odds of them becoming productive members of society.

But hey, lets give a tax cut to a few more corporations or close another gas plant instead. After all, that is how you get short term votes. Children are the long run, not a 'next election' situation. Sigh.
4/7/2014 11:38:09 PM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
Hmmmm...always seems there's lots of money available for fun, games, junkets and gazebos. Maybe they should go beg a contribution from the Charity Casino? You know, the one they built for rich tourists and their bags of out-of-town cash...
4/8/2014 8:12:37 AM
nvjgu says:
WOW, I have a funding short fall too. It's getting tougher to pay all the bill hikes etc. that are happening every three\six month's.
4/8/2014 9:03:43 AM
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