On Again, Off Again…

Authority Ministry of Children and Family Development

Shane was referred to the ministry’s Child and Youth Mental Health Services office by his daughter’s elementary school. The school thought Shane’s daughter Max could be eligible for the wide range of specialized services CYMH offered without charge to help children with serious mental health challenges. After consulting with a pediatrician, Shane met with CYMH’s clinician who said Max would be put on the waiting list for a personalized care plan. In the meantime, Shane was to have Max seen by a child psychiatrist whose report would be used to design the plan.

When Shane called back to give the psychiatrist’s report to CYMH, the same clinician told him Max was no longer on the waiting list, could not explain the reason and did not recall their meeting. Shane booked another meeting with the clinician to straighten it out. This time the clinician told Shane that Max would not be put on the list because she was not a good fit for CYMH services. Shane asked for someone to review Max’s file, but the clinician told him that the decision was final. Shane was baffled by the about-face and wouldn’t accept that there was no help for Max. She was not in school and she was not getting treatment.

When we began to investigate, CYMH conducted a review of the file and discovered that the clinician was incorrect: Max was indeed on the list. The clinician’s supervisor agreed to contact Shane immediately to schedule an appointment with a different clinician.

While the supervisor took measures to correct the first clinician’s performance, Shane’s complaint revealed flaws in CYMH’s intake process and case management. The supervisor also told us that he would be reviewing CYMH’s intake procedures, training and staffing to prevent a similar occurrence in the future. We also identified confusing information in the CYMH’s print materials and online, which were corrected when we brought it to their attention.

We followed up with Shane to confirm that the appointment was scheduled. Shane was still concerned about getting suitable treatment and support for Max to return to school. The correspondence from the school to Shane showed responsiveness and positive communication, so there was no need for us to investigate his concerns at that time. Shane agreed knowing that he could bring a separate complaint if he was not treated fairly.

As a result of our investigation, the CYMH addressed not only Shane’s specific complaint, but also the quality of its intake process, communication and case management, therefore we considered the complaint to be settled.

Category Children and Youth, Health
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2015
Location The Lower Mainland