Hamilton Day Treatment Staff Photo

Program Profile: Delta and Mountain Day Treatment Programs

By Dan Hunter, Program Manager

Originally published May 2019. In September 2019, the program moved to a new school in Hamilton, Sir Winston Churchill.

When was the program founded?

The Woodview-Delta program was established in 1988. The program was overseen by Rick Ludkin and Frank Hayes. Robin Brennan also joined the team in the Fall of 1988. Rick had previously managed our residential program, Canada House, and Frank had extensive experience in Day Treatment from his years working for Woodview in Halton. The “Transitions” classroom followed several years later to address a growing need to address the social, emotional, and behavioural needs of Elementary School aged youth.

Our Woodview-Mountain program has morphed over the last 20 years as it was originally the Canada House classroom, dedicated to the youths residing at Canada House. With increased awareness and best practices, it was determined that all residential clients did not necessarily require a school placement in what had been our Section 19 classroom. The move to a Day Treatment classroom allowed us to serve a greater number of youths within the Hamilton community. We welcomed our first female client in the late 1990s.

How was the program created/developed?

Woodview partnered with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board and the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board to address the growing need to support adolescent boys experiencing social, emotional, and behavioural needs in school. Our clientele is now inclusive of all gender identities.

How many staff work in the program?

The 3 Hamilton programs employ a total of 6 CYWs and 3 Teachers supplied through the HWDSB. We also have access to 1 Outreach worker to assist with improvised programming, in home support, and to assist those struggling with daily attendance.

How many students in the program?

Each program supports 8 full-time students, however many former clients re-connect with various staff members for additional support or to simply update us on how “things” are going in their respective lives. Some come back to thank us or simply reminisce about their fond memories of their “Woodview year(s).

What clients do you serve?

The Delta programs focus on clients who exhibit “externalizing” profiles. They tend be more intrusive when dysregulated; verbally and physically more aggressive. Diagnoses include ADHD, ODD, CD, etc.

The Mountain program focuses on clients who exhibit “internalizing” profiles. They tend to socially and emotionally withdraw and experience issues with chronic absenteeism, anxiety, low mood and depression.

Briefly tell us about the referral

Referral for services are made twice annually (Once in the Spring for anticipated vacancies for the start of September and once in the Fall for openings in February (coinciding with the start of 2nd semester). The referrals are vetted through the respective Social Work departments at the school Boards. In the spirit of equality we ask for the same number of referrals from each Board. Once a referral arrives on our desk we arrange for the client to visit us at the appropriate site and introduce them to our program and staff. If they are ambivalent or simply need some time to review their needs and our expectations they call us to initiate a 2 day “orientation” visit in order to get a feel for the day to day routine of our classes. As a voluntary program, it is paramount that the client commits to treatment and is aware of the opportunity for change.

What does a ‘day-in-the-life’ of the program look like?

Our clients begin to arrive as early as 8:15. They are encouraged to eat something, if they are hungry (Staff have a long standing arrangement with a local Tim Horton’s whereby they donate products to our Delta programs). This is an informal time however a great opportunity for some socializing and a game or 2 of “Incorporation”. Following the National Anthem we have “Check in” where we examine potential vulnerabilities (eating and sleeping patterns). This is followed by a Mindfulness activity. Academics occupy half of the day with the remaining half dedicated to therapeutic activities (usually engaging youths in a physical activity or life and social skill development). Like all intensive Day Treatment programs, our youth also participate in our weekly DBT Skills group. All 3 programs attempt to link positive physical health with positive mental health. Fridays are utilized to promote healthy lifestyles as we engage our youths with either fitness or cooking groups which rotate on a weekly basis. Friday afternoons are often filled with an outing (walk, hike, or bike) to explore our community.

Tell us something about the program that you think would be interesting for readers to learn.

The Delta programs have a 20+ year relationship with YMCA Camp Wanakita in Haliburton, Ontario. We have utilized the generous subsidy to experience Winter Camp. Activities included are snow shoeing, broomball, XC skiing, night hikes, with the highlight being an opportunity to do the “High Ropes” course amongst the canopy of the Camp. Going to Camp (despite the subsidy) can be an expensive undertaking. Three years ago we joined a police sponsored initiative, “COPS and KIDS”. It provides financial assistance and an opportunity for youth and officers to get acquainted and break free of biases and prejudices commonly associated with youth and Police. In fact, this year one of our youths has been selected to receive an Award for positive participation and leadership for our Region. Our student will be recognized at a Gala at the ROM in Toronto in May.

We are also proud that many program staff, past and present, have enhanced Woodview’s community partnerships and profile through coaching a variety of Delta teams and winning several City Championships. Sue Wood and Jay Hayes both coached touch football (Girls and Boys). Jay also assisted with Boys basketball and football in the past. During his years at Delta, John Fitzgerald coached the Delta Red Raiders Boys hockey team to an unprecedented 3 consecutive (“3peat”) City Championships. Those individuals and their supportive co-workers made substantial commitments in order for this to occur. It is also important to note that as coaches, staff often brought Woodview students “on board” as statisticians, equipment managers, etc., providing them with the opportunity to be a part of a team regardless of athletic ability. They were proud of their involvement and positive experiences.

Tell us about a memory that stands out.

Our award recipient struggles with anxiety, however, was able to utilize her skills and completed a taped interview session that required some mindful reflection and some “getting to know you” questions   and sharing. The interview involved a large crew to provide technical support and record, etc. The staff that accompanied her to the interview stated… “Watching her overcome her anxiety and do a FANTASTIC job made me feel so proud of her! It is a highlight in my career. She was AWESOME!!”