Standard Wait List Measurement The first critical step in improving access to mental-health services is to gather consistent, reliable information. Now, district health authorities measure wait times differently for non-urgent mental-health services (there are no wait times for urgent care). Government is working with the IWK Health Centre on standard definitions and criteria, with the goal of having a consistent approach to measuring wait lists provincewide. More Family Help The IWK Health Centre delivers a Family Help Program for families whose children are experiencing behavioral problems. Families are provided with print materials and videos, then connected with professional coaches by telephone. Families can contact their coaches at any time. The IWK has used this program to shorten the wait list for mental-health services. Through effective front end screening, children with mild to moderate behavioral issues are transferred from the wait list into the Family Help Program. As a result, almost 200 children were moved off the wait list, and they and their families received services more appropriate to their needs. Collaboration Between Child Welfare and Mental Health In more serious cases, parents may feel they can no longer cope and therefore reach out to child welfare for help with their child’s behavior or emotional issue. In these cases, a collaborative team approach is needed. Government will pilot a team approach where two professionals (e.g., a psychologist and social worker) will be hired to work closely with child welfare staff, early childhood educators, family resource centres, teachers, special educators, children and families. The team will develop a plan for services tailored to meet the unique needs of each child and family. Government is investing $250,000 to adapt and expand the program to the Cape Breton District Health Authority. The Child Welfare-Mental Health partnership at the IWK Health Centre is being supported by an investment of $180,000. More information on these programs is available on pages 31, 42 and 43 of Our Kids Are Worth It. -30- Note: More information on the Child and Youth Strategy: Our Kids are Worth It is available online at www.gov.ns.ca .