Information about Children’s Services

What is Children’s Services?

The children’s services system in Hamilton provides support to children and youth aged birth to their 18th birthday and their families who are presenting with social, emotional, behavioural, psychiatric and/or developmental concerns.

Services for children and youth with social, emotional, behavioural or psychiatric concerns are referred to as “children’s mental health services”.

Services for children and youth with developmental concerns are referred to as “children’s developmental services”.

Some children and youth require services from children’s mental health services and children’s developmental services because they have needs in both areas (often called “dual diagnosis”).

How to Access Children’s Services

If you are interested in learning more about children’s services or you want to look for services, please call Contact Hamilton at 905-570-8888. A physician’s referral is not required for you to call us. For a full description of what Contact Hamilton does and what you can expect when you call Contact Hamilton, please click here.

If you have a crisis situation

If you have a crisis situation and require help immediately, please consider:

1. Calling 911.
2. Going to your nearest hospital emergency department (McMaster Children’s Hospital has a psychiatric emergency service for children and youth).
3. Calling COAST Hamilton at 905-972-8338, 24 hours/day. COAST Hamilton works with children, youth and adults in crisis who have mental health concerns.
4. Calling your family physician.

Early Years

Ontario Government Youtube Channel – Early Years

When we see children as competent, capable, curious and rich in potential, it has a positive impact on their learning, development, health and well-being. This video series was developed by the Ministry of Education in partnership with leading experts in the early childhood field. The videos are designed to support educators and other professionals working in early years settings. Parents and caregivers can watch these videos and learn how to build strong relationships and connections with children.

English Channel

French Channel

Best Start

Hamilton Best Start is a community collaborative supporting families by offering a broad range of services for children from birth to 12 years of age that will ensure children receive the best possible opportunities. Learn more about Best Start, programs and services near you, and information on child development by clicking HERE.

New: Pathway to Connect for the Early Years

The System of Care Work Group of the Hamilton Best Start Network developed a pathway that showcases key access points to services for families and their children. The pathway was created to help families connect to the most appropriate services to meet their needs. For more information, please visit Hamilton Best Start.

Children’s Mental Health Services in Hamilton

Types of Children’s Mental Health Services

Here is a summary of the types of children’s mental health services provided in Hamilton. A number of different agencies provide these services. For information about these types of services or to apply for them, please call Contact Hamilton at 905-570-8888 or email us at info@contacthamilton.ca

ASSESSMENT. An assessment is an evaluation or diagnostic service that is completed by a professional. Information about the child’s/youth’s and family’s strengths, needs and resources is collected and treatment recommendations are made.

INDIVDIUAL COUNSELLING/THERAPY. Counselling or therapy is tailored to the child/youth and is provided on a one-to-one basis. It may be brief or may involve multiple appointments.

FAMILY COUNSELLING/THERAPY. Family counselling/therapy aims at changing how families interact. It hopes to increase understanding and improve communication among family members and does so without placing blame on any one person.

GROUP COUNSELLING/THERAPY. Group counselling allows people to work on their problems by interacting with others in a group setting. Members share their thoughts and feelings and receive feedback, encouragement and support from the other members. The process enables members to learn more about how others respond to them. Members can also practice new behaviours and skills in the safety of the group.

DAY TREATMENT. Day treatment programs are usually a partnership between a children’s mental health agency and the school board. Day treatment provides treatment and support to children and youth who are unable to attend regular classes due to their social, emotional, behavioural or psychiatric needs.

INTENSIVE HOME BASED INTERVENTIONS. This is intensive child/youth and family centred treatment that is provided in the home. The focus is on helping the family in the areas of parenting skills, communication, behavioural support and strategies and crisis planning.

RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT. Residential treatment is provided to children/youth that have serious mental health concerns and that require constant supervision and care within a treatment setting. Treatment may include individual, group, and family counselling/therapy; behaviour therapy; day treatment, recreation. Treatment is time limited and the goal is to stabilize and transition the child/youth back to their family home as soon as possible.

FAMILY/CAREGIVER EDUCATION AND SUPPORT. A broad range of information and education resources and supports to families and caregivers to improve their ability to understand and support children and youth with mental health or behaviour concerns.

PARENTING SUPPORTS. A wide variety of skills-based parenting programs about child rearing and parenting.

Services for Children and Youth with Mental Health Needs

Hamilton has a variety of services to help children, youth and their families. A number of different agencies provide these services.

Some services have a waiting period. The waiting period varies by agency. Contact Hamilton can help you understand what the waiting period may be like and can recommend other community services or supports, where they are available, that can help you while you wait.

Contact Hamilton works directly with the following agencies that support children and youth with mental health needs. These services are funded by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS). For information about these services or to apply for them, please call Contact Hamilton at 905-570-8888 or email us info@contacthamilton.ca

Contact Hamilton also works closely with other community agencies and programs. For more information about these types of services or to apply for them, please call Contact Hamilton at 905-570-8888 or email us info@contacthamilton.ca. You can also visit our Children’s Services Resource Directory for a complete listing of available community supports in Hamilton by clicking here.

Information about Children’s Mental Health Issues and Concerns

This section provides links to other sites that provide information about child and youth mental health:

Kids Help Phone
Website includes information for kids related to topics such as bullying, violence and abuse, body image, feelings, the Internet, friends, school, etc. Also includes tools and resources for parents. For more information, visit: kidshelpphone.ca or dial 1-8000-668-6868.

Kids New to Canada: “Community Resources Serving Immigrant and Refugee Families”
Website is produced by the Canadian Pediatric Society and contains links to multiple resources for newcomer families, including: language programs, health, education, legal matters, housing, recreation, employment and more. For more information, visit kidsnewtocanada.ca and click “Find resources for immigrant and refugee families in your community.”

Families in TRANSition: A Resource Guide for Families of Transgender Youth
This guide provides tools, resources and information for families to ensure the strongest possible relationship with their trans youth. Download the resource for free at www.ctys.org.

ABCs of Mental Health
Parents and teachers often have questions about the behaviour of children and adolescents. They may worry about whether a behaviour is appropriate for a particular age or developmental stage, or a sign that something might be wrong. They may wonder why it is occurring, and how best to respond. The ABCs of Mental Health provides two free, web-based Resources – one for teachers and one for parents – to help answer these questions. The Resources include ideas for promoting the mental health of children and adolescents, information about how children change as they get older, descriptions of behaviours that might indicate a problem, and practical suggestions for steps to take. The website is managed by the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre.

Mental Health First Aid Canada
This is a website for training in mental health First Aid. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. There is a course for parents, educators etc. specific to working with youth.

Centre of Knowledge on Healthy Child Development- Offord Centre for Child Studies
The Centre of Knowledge on Healthy Child Development was designed to focus on certain disorders, behaviour problems, and life circumstances that can have a significant impact on children’s health and well-being. There is information on:

  • anger, aggression and bullying, conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse.
  • the role that parenting plays in fostering the healthy development of children, and what it means to grow up in a lone parent or low-income family or an environment of abuse or neglect.
  • how to distinguish mental health problems from normal development.
  • the impact of problems left untreated, such as poor school performance, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, and poor peer relationships in adolescence.

There are also book, DVD, and video listings about these problems shown at the end of each section.

MindyourMind.ca
Mindyourmind.ca is an award winning site for youth and emerging adults. This is a place where you can get info, resources and the tools to help you manage stress, crises and mental health problems. Share what you live and what you know with your friends.

Community Education Services
The Community Education Service helps connect parents to high-quality information and courses about common childhood problems. Through this web-site the reader can access course flyers, search the web database of courses and workshops and review booklists on various childhood problems.

Children’s Mental Health Ontario
Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) works to improve the mental health and well-being of children and youth and their families. The website has a section dedicated to resources for parents.

E-mental health
E-mental Health is a source for local mental health help and events. This site also includes a library of information and some free, anonymous, online mental health screening tools.

Collaborative Mental Health – Child & Youth Mental Health Tool Kits:
This site was developed by the Hamilton Family Health Teamin collaboration with CHEO. Patient resources include: Educational handouts; books, website and video resources. Healthcare provider resources include: description of the topic including etiology, identification and treatment; healthcare provider-supported patient education and self-management tools; screening tools and symptom checklists; books and websites.

macanxietykids.com
This site was created for (and by) parents, educators, and clinicians working together to support children and teens with mental health conditions. The information on this web site is focused on anxiety.

The Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health at CHEO
The Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health at CHEO, along with other leaders, is working towards an integrated system that truly meets the mental health care needs of children, youth and their parents and caregivers. This web-site includes a section called Tools and Resources.

CAMH McLaughlin Information Centre
This website provides information about mental health, drugs and addiction, concurrent disorders, and child and youth family resources. Information is also available in other languages: Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Serbian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, and Urdu.

Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development: Encyclopedia: On Early Childhood Development
This website includes an Encyclopedia. It covers 37 topics related to the psychosocial development of the child, from conception to the age of five, and presents the most up-to-date scientific knowledge.

Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada
This website provides information about tourette syndrome, a neurological or “neurochemical” disorder characterized by tics — involuntary, rapid, sudden movements or vocalizations that occur repeatedly in the same way.

www.spcch.org (Suicide Prevention Community Council of Hamilton)
This site contains information about suicide and suicide prevention, helpful resources and the new Hamilton Suicide Prevention Strategy.

Youth Policy Framework Bulletin (May 2 2011)
MCYS is developing a framework that will be a resource for governments, families, communities and providers to better understand youth and what can be done to support their successful transition into adulthood.

Iris the Dragon
Iris the Dragon provides educational materials for adults and young readers that can facilitate a conversation about issues relating to mental health and wellness. In a study conducted by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Iris the Dragon books were empirically proven to reduce stigma, decrease social distancing and increase mental health literacy in children. These books are free to download by visiting Iris the Dragon’s website.

A Family Guide to Understanding Suicide
The Suicide Prevention Community Council of Hamilton (SPCCH) has created this guide to help you begin a dialogue with yourself and others about suicide. The guide covers basic information about suicide, statistics to help you understand how many people are affected, myths and facts about suicide that will arm you with the right information, warning signs, local training programs and Hamilton support services.

Children’s Developmental Services

Types of Children’s Developmental Services

Here is a summary of the types of children’s developmental services provided in Hamilton. A number of different agencies provide these services. For information about these types of services or to apply for them, please call Contact Hamilton at 905-570-8888 or email us info@contacthamilton.ca

ASSESSMENT. An assessment is an evaluation or diagnostic service that is completed by a professional. Information about the child’s/youth’s and family’s strengths, needs and resources is collected and treatment recommendations are made.

THERAPIES AND CLINICAL SERVICES. This may consist of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech-language, audiology, infant development, psychology and social work.

BEHAVIOUR SUPPORTS. Services and supports that provide behaviour assessment and/or treatment of behaviour issues.

INTENSIVE BEHAVIOUR INTERVENTION (IBI). IBI is a specific intensive service. It refers to the application of the principles of applied behaviour analysis (ABA) in an intensive setting to result in behaviour change and improvement.

APPLIED BEHAVIOUR ANALYSIS (ABA).

LIFE/SOCIAL SKILLS. Services and supports that help children and youth develop daily living and social skills. These supports are often provided in a group environment.

RECREATION SERVICES. Includes a range of recreational programs and camps aimed at enhancing a child’s/youth’s social skills and social inclusion.

INTENSIVE HOME BASED INTERVENTIONS. This is intensive child/youth and family centred treatment that is provided in the home. The focus is on helping the family in the areas of parenting skills, communication, behavioural support and strategies and crisis planning.

FAMILY/CAREGIVER EDUCATION AND SUPPORT. A broad range of information and education resources and supports to families and caregivers to improve their ability to understand and support children and youth with developmental concerns and autism spectrum disorder.

PARENTING SUPPORTS. A wide variety of skills-based parenting programs about child rearing and parenting.

RESPITE. Respite is planned and provides a break or temporary relief to allow families of children and youth with developmental disabilities to have some time away from their care activities. It also gives children and youth opportunities to be with others, have fun and develop social and recreational skills. Respite may be provided out of their home or in their home. The amount of respite varies depending on need and availability.

SPECIAL SERVICES AT HOME (SSAH). SSAH is a respite program. SSAH is for children with developmental and/or physical disabilities.

ASSISTANCE FOR CHILDREN WITH SEVERE DISABILITIES (ACSD). ACSD is a program of the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS). It provides financial assistance to parents to help with extra-ordinary costs related to their child’s severe disability. It is a direct funding program for low and moderate income families.

Services for Children and Youth with Developmental Needs

Hamilton has a variety of services to help children, youth and their families. A number of different agencies provide these services.

Some services have a waiting period. The waiting period varies by agency. Contact Hamilton can help you understand what the waiting period may be like and can recommend other community services or supports, where they are available, that can help you while you wait.

Contact Hamilton works directly with the following agencies that support children and youth with mental health needs. These services are funded by the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) and/or the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS). For information about these services or to apply for them, please call Contact Hamilton at 905-570-8888 or email us at info@contacthamilton.ca

Contact Hamilton also works closely with other community agencies and programs. For more information about these types of services or to apply for them, please call Contact Hamilton at 905-570-8888 or email us info@contacthamilton.ca. You can also visit our Children’s Services Resource Directory for a complete listing of available community supports in Hamilton by clicking here.

Information about Children’s Developmental Services and Autism

This section provides links to other sites that provide information about children’s developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorders:

Autism Ontario
The website for the provincial organization Autism Ontario. This website provides information about autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This website also has a link to ABACUS, a source of information for parents, caregivers, and the general community about Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) services for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Ontario.

Community Education Services
The Community Education Service helps connect parents to high-quality information and courses about common childhood problems. Through this web-site the reader can access course flyers, search the web database of courses and workshops and review booklists on various childhood problems.

School Advocacy
The purpose of this web site is to empower parents and students so that your ideas and wishes are considered in the decisions made about your child’s education.

School Services for Children and Youth

School boards offer supports to students who might be struggling in school with mental health and/or developmental disabilities. Many professionals provide support services, either directly or indirectly to students including: classroom teachers, special education teachers, educational assistants, school administrators, special education consultants, special assignment teachers, speech and language consultants, psycho-educational consultants and social workers.

If you are concerned about a student’s wellbeing, a good starting point is talking with the student’s school principal or teacher. The links below provide an overview of the services provided by the school boards.

Health Resources

Health Care Connect: “Find a Family Doctor or Nurse-Practitioner”
Ontario government website that includes instructions on how to find or change a family doctor or nurse practitioner. For more information, visit Ontario.ca and search “Find a family doctor or nurse practitioner,” or dial 1-800-445-1822.

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
Website is produced by the Canadian Paediatric Society and contains links to multiple resources for newcomer families, including: language programs, health, education, legal matters, housing, recreation, employment and more. For more information, visit cpso.on.ca and follow links to “Public Register Info” > “All Doctors Search.”

ODSP

Financial Supports Catalogue by Hamilton Best Start

The Basic Needs Work Group of the Hamilton Best Start Network identified several resources available to low-income families to help with their basic needs.

Some of these resources are not well known by families, yet they provide an opportunity to access additional funds. This discovery led to the development of a collection of income supports which is contained in this catalogue.

To view the online version of the catalogue, click here.

 

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