WE ARE “OPENING UP!”
It might be an odd statement to make, as we host our 2022 Annual Meeting via video conference for the third straight year. However, at Kerry’s Place Autism Services, we are experiencing the notion that our environment is changing and the isolation of the past two and half years is being lifted.
As you read through our Annual Report, we invite you to review the stories of our individuals and our staff as they explore a re-opening world. Enjoy the adventures, smiles and excitement as so many new programs, educational services, community activities and successes are happening and celebrated. We will also share our achievements of the past year and some comments about our future plans.
We have undergone structural changes at the leadership level to better align our programs, and advance our present and future goals. Regional operations within our Supported Living portfolio were combined under one Vice President, which has provided consistency in process within our East, Central and Toronto Regions. This evolution was necessary to better support the ever changing direction of public health guidelines, manage outbreaks and staffing concerns, and ensure that best clinical practices were shared across the regions. This change will continue to sustain and improve the positive compliance results we received this year from the Ministry of Children and Community Social Services for all regions.
Merging the regions has also been important to create, plan and implement a housing strategy aimed at addressing present and future housing needs. This past year and next, is focused on gathering data to better understand the needs of those we support, and exploring new and innovative housing models to address these needs. It also includes reviewing our current housing assets to more appropriately plan for maintenance and repairs, and to support long-term capital planning.
We also merged our Central and Toronto Community programs under one Vice President to facilitate the Ministry of Children’s and Community Social Services mandate to standardize autism services across the province into the Ontario Autism Program (OAP). Kerry’s Place remains the only organization in the province that is part of two regional networks supporting the OAP: York Simcoe Autism Services Network and the Toronto Autism Services Network. This year we successfully launched the Caregiver-Mediated Early Years (2 to 4 years); Entry to School (4 to 6 years); and Urgent Response Services programs, in addition to our ongoing Foundational Family and Core Clinical services.
The Clinical and Quality Outcomes Department continues to increase their focus on enhancing the clinical supports of our individuals, improving quality outcomes, and creating improved monitoring systems. This includes leading the work on our goal of accreditation by 2023 through Accreditation Canada. Additional achievements from our Quality Team have been included later in this report.
Human Resources Department has experienced a challenging year, with many changes to both senior leadership and management positions. Despite this disruption, the team established a strong Health & Wellness Program, and created a new Pillars of Excellence program to recognize staff contributions. Our IT Department was also challenged in a different way, successfully managing a major cybersecurity attack that did not result in a privacy breach nor disclosure of personal information.
We are grateful to our advisory committees, who continue to provide much needed feedback to ensure relevance in the work that we do. Our Autism Advisory Committee (AAC), comprised of young adults with autism, have provided invaluable input to management as to how Kerry’s Place can better support young adults with autism achieve their life goals. Our Family Advisory Committee (FAC) has developed a new Family Charter, managed the Family Satisfaction Survey, and supported the dissemination of important information to families through the Family Newsletter.
On behalf of the board of directors and the management team, we want to thank all the individuals supported by Kerry’s Place, their loved ones and the staff for their tremendous support this past year. We know professionally it has been a difficult year, but your resilience, optimism and courage in coping with the pandemic is a testament to your hard work, passion, and dedication to those we support.
To the managers, directors and senior team who have skillfully navigated Kerry’s Place through the continued challenges, implementing the new organizational structure and managing the complexities of all of our supported living and community services, we are grateful.
And to the board of directors, we would like to thank you for your guidance, hours of volunteer work and support for the management team.
We continue to be so proud of all of you for your support of Kerry’s Place vision and mission.
President and CEO
Chair of the Board of Directors