March 24th 2022 marks the 40th anniversary of Keystone Child, Youth & Family Services being a separately incorporated organization within Grey and Bruce County. The children’s mental health agency has a long history of supporting children, youth and families which dates back to 1971 when a group of advocates chaired by Judge Frederic Egener came together and lobbied for more services to support children and youth in crisis.
The group was successful in their efforts and in 1974 a Child and Adolescent Unit was established in the Dr. Mackinnon Phillips Hospital in Owen Sound, ON.
As the need for more services and resources grew, Bruce Grey Children’s Services was formed and incorporated in 1982, relocating from the hospital to downtown Owen Sound, Ontario. Over the next many years, the agency continued to grow and evolve into a multi-service organization.
A permanent location for a youth intensive treatment facility was purchased in 1989 and continues to this day as a 7-bed, short-term youth live-in treatment program for youth in crisis.
In 2006, the agency changes its name from Bruce Grey Children’s Services to Keystone Child, Youth & Family Services in line with their new strategic plan and mission of “Building Futures Together”.
Over the years, Keystone Child, Youth & Family Services continued to grow and adapt to meet the needs of families. Partnerships with other community organizations were integral in providing wraparound services for families to meet the growing demand for mental health support. With the Ministry initiative ‘Moving on Mental Health’, Keystone was designated as the Lead Agency for Children’s Mental Health in Grey and Bruce County in 2014.
In July 2015, Keystone Child, Youth & Family Services moved into its current main office location at 1793 3rd. Ave West in Owen Sound. A wide range of mental health support through counselling, prevention and well-being programs, short term live-in treatment, crisis stabilization, youth justice program, special needs programming and coordinated access planning for our community is offered, serving approximately 1600 families each year.
In 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic hit the world stage and the organization had to be nimble and flexible to meet the growing demand for children’s mental health services. Virtual services and innovative ways to meet families safely during this time was imperative to helping families. The dedicated staff continue to work tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure that families are supported.
Looking Towards The Future
As we look towards the future and back at the 40 years of history within the community, Keystone will be channeling the passion of the original group of advocates that started lobbying back in 1971 for more supports for children and youth in crisis.
Keystone will be leaning on the community to assist them in achieving their goal of bringing a new, accessible youth live-in treatment facility to their current office space by renovating the back half of their building. This renovation will house the current live-in treatment program in a more accessible and larger space for the youth. The all-gendered facility will host youth ages 12 to 17 for short-term therapeutic assessment, intervention and stabilization. Youth will have the opportunity to build and develop the skills they need to achieve successful outcomes while being in close proximity to multiple support systems.
Providing community-based children’s mental health services in Grey and Bruce County for over 40 years, Keystone Child, Youth & Family Services continues to deliver responsive, compassionate services for children, youth and families to build better and more hopeful futures.
You can join their mission of ‘Building Futures Together’ by helping to support the renovation of the new youth live-in treatment facility by making a donation at: https://www.keystonebrucegrey.org/donate/