Ottawa, May 14, 2021: Today, the Youth Services Bureau (YSB), CHEO, and Le CAP, three partners of the Kids Come First Health Team, announce the launch of a new program called Step Up Step Down — a bilingual live-in-treatment program for youth aged 12 to 17 with complex mental health needs. Step Up Step Down addresses a service gap between hospitalization and community care.

“Step Up Step Down is all about working to create better, faster access to the right care at the right time for youth and families,” said Joanne Lowe, Executive Director of YSB and VP of Mental Health and Addictions at CHEO. “For youth with complex mental health needs, we want to give them and their families an option other than hospitalization.”

The focus of the program is to support youth in the transition home from an inpatient hospital stay (step down) and from community based support to manage a deterioration in mental health which, without intervention, will likely lead to an inpatient hospital admission or readmission (step up). The program provides short-term (up to 30 days) stabilization and intensive individualized treatment during the youth’s stay with an emphasis on youth and family recovery and skill building that will lead to a successful return home. CHEO inpatient services have been operating at maximum capacity for several years now.

“We know that there is immense pressure on youth and families who are dealing with ongoing mental health crises,” said Guy Bouchard, Executive Director, Le CAP. “Accessing these services is even more difficult for Francophone clients. This program will begin to address these needs.”

Step Up Step Down exemplifies strong partnership and collaboration within the Kids Come First Health Team, of which all three organizations are members, working to create better, faster access to the right care at the right time for children and youth. The program is staffed by a multi-disciplinary team that includes youth workers, a psychotherapist, a teacher, an occupational therapist, psychiatric nurses, psychologist, psychiatrist, a program coordinator and clinical director.

Step Up Step Down is funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Health, through in-kind and collaborative partnerships with other services, and through generous private donations through the YSB Foundation. The creation of Step Up Step Down is part of a strategy for child and youth mental health, for which YSB is the lead agency in Ottawa.



Suzanne Fraser, Youth Services Bureau, 613-277-7103

About the Youth Services Bureau

YSB is one of the largest and most comprehensive non-profit agencies serving youth in Ottawa. It offers more than 30 programs and serves 3,000 youth and families every month in the areas of youth engagement, housing and homelessness, mental health, youth justice and employment.

About CHEO

Dedicated to the best life for every child and youth, CHEO is a global leader in pediatric health care and research. Based in Ottawa, CHEO includes a hospital, children’s treatment centre, school and research institute, with satellite services located throughout Eastern Ontario. CHEO provides excellence in complex pediatric care, research and education. We are committed to partnering with families and the community to provide exceptional care — where, when and how it’s needed. CHEO is a founding member of Kids Health Alliance, a network of partners working to create a high quality, standardized and coordinated approach to pediatric health care that is centred around children, youth and their families. Every year, CHEO helps more than 500,000 children and youth from Eastern Ontario, western Quebec, Nunavut and Northern Ontario.

About Le CAP

Le CAP– Centre d’appui et de prévention- provides Ontario Francophones — children, youth and adults — with improved access to a continuum of mental health, addiction, and concurrent disorders services and to educational centers.

Le CAP, the union of two pillars: Le Centre Psychosocial and Maison Fraternité; have been working for the well-being of the Ontario community for 80 years. Across the province, Le CAP is now the Francophone reference for thousands of families, people in crisis and youth in difficulty.

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