May 16, 2012
Construction is underway on a facility which will allow families to get integrated, specialized services for children and youth with special needs, Premier Greg Selinger announced.
"Our government understands the pressures families with special needs face on a daily basis. By bringing many agencies and services under one roof, it will help them save time and, with improved access through the co-ordination and integration of these important services, families will get the help they need quickly and conveniently," said Selinger. Specialized Services for Children and Youth (SSCY) is a partnership of Manitoba Health, Manitoba Family Services and Labour, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) and various community service providers. Agencies that will be located on-site include the Rehabilitation Centre for Children, Society for Manitobans with Disabilities and Community Respite Services.
"We want to make it as convenient as possible for families to access the specialized services their children need," said Health Minister Theresa Oswald. "With so many services in one central location, this facility will help to support families dealing with a variety of challenges. Working together, everyone will benefit from this partnership, which will see agencies deliver vital co-ordinated services including on-site family supports like the Family Resource Centre as well as an early learning and child-care centre."
The specialized services that will soon be offered at SSCY include:
- child development services;
- central intake and delivery of therapy services including audiology, occupational, physical and speech/language therapies;
- a communication disorders clinic;
- rehabilitative services including prosthetics, orthotics, and seating and mobility assessments;
- the Manitoba Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Centre and the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome outreach team;
- the Autism outreach team;
- respite services;
- Children's disABILITY Services; and
- the Integrated Children's Services team.
The centre will be located in the historic Christie Building at the corner of Notre Dame Avenue and Myrtle Street, conveniently located close to the Health Sciences Centre's Children's Hospital, and near major traffic routes, which will support access for the many families, children and youth coming from outside of Winnipeg, Oswald said.
Dr. Brock Wright, senior vice-president of the Winnipeg Health Region, said the close proximity to the James Richardson International Airport will also ease the pressures on families coming into the city from northern Manitoba, northwest Ontario and Nunavut.
"These are communities to which we already provide services. For clients who aren't as familiar with Winnipeg, putting these care providers together in one site where they can get a referral to the office across the hall instead of across a city with which they aren't familiar and where their care providers can easily communicate and co-ordinate their child's care will be a huge benefit for them."
The new $16.7-million facility will be over 92,800 square feet and will be renovated with the environment in mind to the LEED Silver standard of energy efficiency, reusing the existing building and maintaining the original natural skylights.
Families have played an integral role in the development of SSCY, both in terms of the concept as well as the physical features of the site itself, Oswald said. The building has been designed to be both welcoming and accessible. Skylights will allow natural light in foyers and waiting areas, and an internal courtyard will allow access to an outdoor space for families, therapy and recreational programming. A centralized reception will be available at the front to welcome and assist families when they arrive. The early learning and child-care centre will be a licensed community-based non-profit centre offering inclusive programming for all children including those with additional support needs.
"We are very excited by the opportunities that will grow with the SSCY initiative," said Cheryl Susinski, executive director of the Rehabilitation Centre for Children. "It will provide a state-of-the-art facility and an integrated service partnership for children with special needs and their families."
"By working together, we know that special-needs children and youth will greatly benefit from our joint effort," said Bob Adkins, campaign co-chair of SSCY Together is Better capital campaign. "We're currently recruiting volunteers to raise an additional $5 million to bring new equipment, furnishings and other comforts to the clinic and waiting rooms, the early learning and child-care centre, interior atriums and outdoor therapy areas to make it a more pleasant experience for families."
There are many agencies that provide specialized services to children. Those located together at the new SSCY building will continue to work with others located off-site including the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Manitoba Education, Central Speech and Hearing Clinic, Open Access Resource Centre, St. Amant, the WRHA Child Health Program and the Movement Centre of Manitoba.
For more information :