Media Release

Thumbs up from Health Minister for Kids Come First plan to improve health care

Rollout to start with Ontario’s first pediatric home-care program

OTTAWA, ON — Today, Christine Elliott, the Minister of Health, expressed provincial support for Kids Come First/Les enfants avant tout as a model for delivering integrated child and youth health services.

As stated in the Minister’s announcement, “The government will also continue to work with the partners of Kids Come First/Les enfants avant tout, an innovative model of child and youth wellness that has the potential to enhance the delivery of a full continuum of care for children across Eastern Ontario. Through this ongoing collaboration, the government will work with these health leaders to further refine how their partnership can improve care for families and support the work of other local Ontario Health Teams.

“As we reviewed the many excellent applications to become an Ontario Health Team, it became clear to us that there are some proposals like Kids Come First that provide invaluable services for specific patient populations that should not contained within a single team,” said Elliott. “We will continue this exciting work to articulate a vision for offering comprehensive, high-quality and tailored child and youth health services to kids in the care of local Ontario Health Teams.”

The Kids Come First/Les enfants avant tout model recognizes that children and youth are not tiny adults and therefore require specialized care, support and services. The model will enhance, not replace existing OHTs by offering pediatric expertise. Ultimately, everybody will be connected to an OHT and Kids Come First/Les enfants avant tout will help every OHT in this region make sure kids get what they need.

“Our work to improve the quality and connectedness of health care for kids started when we launched the THRIVE process 3 ½ years ago, “ said Alex Munter, President and CEO, CHEO and member of Kids Come First/Les enfants avant tout. “We look forward to partnering, first with the Ottawa OHT and then with all the other local Health Teams that follow, to make sure the new OHT system works the best it can for kids and families. Out of the gate, we are focused on improving home care.”

Minister Elliott also announced the Kids Come First/Les enfants avant tout’s home care plan will be implemented. This includes connecting care and providers in hospital, home, school and community settings.

“Kids Come First/Les enfants avant tout will deliver an innovative, first of its kind integrated home care program for children and youth,” said Megan Wright, Executive Director, Roger Neilson House and member of Kids Come First/Les enfants avant tout. “Furthermore, continuity of home care is so important in the life of a child. Parents sometimes have to teach multiple providers about how to care for their children which deprives them of the respite they desperately need. We can do better.”

Kids Come First/Les enfants avant tout has 8 of its partners focused on integrated home care services. They will co-design the home care model with patients, families, staff, physicians and contracted service provider organizations to ensure the provision of efficient, innovative and impactful home care services across the region.

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Media contact

Suzanne Fraser, Youth Services Bureau

About Kids Come First/Les enfant savant tout

Kids Come First/Les enfants avant tout includes 61 partner organizations, 1,089 physicians and 2,535 individuals who are committed to making child and youth health services easier to obtain; helping eastern Ontario’s OHTs provide care to children and youth; and to supporting physicians and clinical leaders who provide care to children, youth and families.  Our initial priority populations include: children and youth with mental health and addictions as well as those with medically complex needs.

We will help OHTs – starting with the Ottawa OHT – as well as physicians and primary care providers to care for children and youth by:

  • Making child and youth health services easier to obtain and better, faster to access, e.g. integrated home and community care; access to mental health and addictions services
  • Supporting transitions from youth to adult services
  • Piloting a new innovative model for kids’ health care in Ontario

We will establish a fully-integrated pediatric home-care program, focusing on the needs of children, youth and families. We will connect care and providers in acute, post-acute, home, school and community settings.

17 child and youth mental health agencies will work together as a single service system – one place for doctors to refer; one call/one click for families to access.

We will create an action plan for francophone children and youth led by Francophone children and youth.

We will create an action plan for indigenous children and youth led by indigenous children and youth.

We aspire that families in rural areas receive services how, when and where they need it.

We will bring forward digital solutions so that families can access care from the comfort of their own home or wherever they choose, e.g. enhanced use of Telemedicine, eConsult, and eReferral. Our primary focus will be on leveraging digital apps for self-monitoring the immunization status of children and youth in Ontario.

We will work with primary-care providers and community pediatricians provide more effective and efficient support to children and youth – keeping kids out of hospitals.


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