In February 2003, government approved a 5-year Child and Youth Mental Health Plan for British Columbia to improve the mental health of children and youth in B.C. The first plan of its kind in Canada, the Plan will be fully implemented by March 2008.
Priority areas for implementation include:
- Substantially narrowing the gap between need and capacity in the children’s mental health service system.
- Developing a basic level and range of core services in every region, which includes clinical consultation; mental health consultation; community-based assessment, counseling and therapy services; home-based and outreach services; family development services; day treatment; crisis intervention and stabilization.
- Continuing to collaborate with and support Aboriginal groups in planning and implementing service improvements to support the mental health of Aboriginal children, youth and families.
- Continuing to support knowledge transfer related to the realization of evidence-based practice as the standard in BC’s children’s mental health services.
- Implement information management systems in order to monitor and evaluate system performance and client outcomes.
The budget for Child and Youth Mental Health Services increased by $12.7 million in the 2005/06 fiscal year. This year, the budget will increase by $14.25 million. Of that, $10.2 million (or 13 percent of the total Child and Youth Mental Health operating budget) is dedicated to developing Aboriginal CYMH services between 2006 and 2008.
To provide increased services to clients, more than 100 new staff were added in 2005 and 83 new staff will be added this fiscal year. A major effort is currently underway to hire professionals to increase services to Aboriginal children and youth.