Time for Transformation
This is a time of change and transformation for children's services in Ontario. A multitude of government initiatives are underway, all focused on making things better for children and families by changing the way services look and operate. Concurrently, OACRS has embarked on its own transformation – a process that began in early 2016.
Over the past number of months, OACRS has engaged in a process of community consultation, prudent analysis, self-reflection and decision-making. The OACRS 2020 Strategic Plan includes a vision and a clearly articulated purpose that reflect the voices of the many people we have spoken with – families, service providers, researchers, clinicians, members, partners and government officials.
As a result of our analysis, the OACRS Board solidly endorsed:
- Understanding the experiences of children and youth with special needs and their families
- Broadening OACRS' membership to be inclusive of an array of services and supports that enable children and youth with special needs to participate fully and improve their quality of life
- Being a provincial organization that has reach nationally and internationally
- Focusing on the importance of information, data and research, and playing a central role to ensure this knowledge can be used to improve services
- Working with a range of partners, decision-makers, organizations and associations to identify where and how we can work together to advance a common agenda
We are crystal clear on why we exist and we are well positioned to implement this transformation.
A comprehensive approach to implementation, member engagement and measurement is necessary for the OACRS Strategic Plan to be successful. This work is underway and the first steps include:
- Creation of a Membership Committee to examine the elements of broadening membership, including membership structure and governance
- Establishment of a Communications Committee to lead the work of rebranding the Association
- Formation of the OACRS National Research Network
- Release of the inaugural sector performance report
This plan provides the roadmap for harnessing knowledge and uniting voices so that we realize our vision that children and youth with special needs are living their best lives.
We look forward to sharing our progress in this journey.