The Children’s Mental Health Organization (CMHO) has launched a letter writing campaign to improve mental health services for children and youth in Ontario.
Here are five reasons why the CMHO Kids Can’t Wait advocacy campaign is important for the child welfare sector:
- Children served by CAS are particularly vulnerable to mental health issues because of the impact of adverse childhood experiences on mental and physical health. Access to mental health services based on what individual children and families need will make a dramatic impact on positive outcomes.
- We know from ONLAC research that 29 percent of children and youth in care in Ontario over the age of ten* have been diagnosed with an emotional, psychological, or nervous disorders. We also know that many of the children and youth receiving services from the child welfare system have complex needs and that there is a dramatic need for more intensive mental health services.
- The trauma associated with residential schools has cascaded through generations of Indigenous families. There is an urgent need for culturally appropriate and accessible treatment and specialized care services in Indigenous communities. The lack of mental health services in remote communities, the North, and on reserves means that many Indigenous children have been moved far from their home communities, culture, and language to receive mental health services.
- Without help and support, children develop negative coping responses to traumatic stress. The rights resources at the right time could help transform the trajectory of children and youth receiving services from Children’s Aid Societies.
- CMHO says that it needs 5,000 letters to make an impact at the political level. Read the digital letter here and consider signing.
*Table 6-3, Ontario Looking After Children (OnLAC) 2016 Provincial Report. OnLAC data represents children that have been in care for more than one year and have completed an Assessment and Action Record.