NEWS

Ground broken for SSCY

Building to pull together special services for children and youth

Health Minister Theresa Oswald (from left), Premier Greg Selinger, WRHA Health Care and Chronic Disease Regional Director Jeanette Edwards, Rehabilitation Centre for Children Executive Director Cheryl Susinski, WRHA Senior Vice-President Brock Wright and SSCY Together is Better capital campaign co-chair Bob Adkins at the ground breaking.
Health Minister Theresa Oswald (from left), Premier Greg Selinger, WRHA Health Care and Chronic Disease Regional Director Jeanette Edwards, Rehabilitation Centre for Children Executive Director Cheryl Susinski, WRHA Senior Vice-President Brock Wright and SSCY Together is Better capital campaign co-chair Bob Adkins at the ground breaking.

BY SUSIE STRACHAN
Winnipeg Health Region
Published Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The ground was broken this morning on construction of a new one-stop facility to serve children with special needs and their families.

The Specialized Services for Children and Youth (SSCY) building will house the Rehabilitation Centre for Children, currently located on Wellington Crescent, as well as the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities and Community Respite Services.

The old Christie Building on Notre Dame Avenue is undergoing $16.7 million in renovations and will feature 92,800 sq. ft. of space, once it opens in 2014.

The new location for special services will make it convenient for families who are dealing with a variety of challenges.

"We're going to see families and their children coming to a single-door system," said Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger. "Imagine someone coming from the Pas with their child. They won't know the city, yet they currently have to drive all over for their child's health appointments. SSCY will make it much easier for them to get the important services their child needs."

Dr. Brock Wright, senior vice-president of the Winnipeg Health Region, said the close proximity to the James Richardson International Airport will ease the pressures on families coming into the city from northern Manitoba, northwestern Ontario and Nunavut.

"These are communities to which we already provide services.  For clients who aren't as familiar with Winnipeg, putting these care providers together in one site where they can get a referral to the office across the hall instead of across a city with which they aren't familiar and where their care providers can easily communicate and coordinate their child's care will be a huge benefit."

Families have played an integral role in the development of SSCY, both in terms of the concept as well as the physical features of the site itself, said Manitoba Health Minister Theresa Oswald. 

The building has been designed to be both welcoming and accessible.  Skylights will allow natural light in foyers and waiting areas, and an internal courtyard will allow access to an outdoor space for families, therapy and recreational programming. A central reception at the front will welcome and assist families when they arrive. The early learning and child-care centre will be a licensed community-based, non-profit centre offering programming for all children including those with additional support needs.

"We are very excited by the opportunities that will grow with the SSCY initiative," said Cheryl Susinski, Executive Director of the Rehabilitation Centre for Children.  "I can't tell you how it feels to be standing here where the SSCY building will be. I'm a parent of a child with a disability, and I can tell you how complex life can get. It will make such a difference to come to a facility that's bright and cheerful, filled with state-of-the-art equipment, and where our story only has to be told once, to a service team that will achieve what's right for each child."

"By working together, we know that special-needs children and youth will greatly benefit from our joint effort," said Bob Adkins, Campaign Co-chair of SSCY Together is Better capital campaign. "We're currently recruiting volunteers to raise an additional $5 million to bring new equipment, furnishings and other comforts to the clinic and waiting rooms, the early learning and child-care centre, interior atriums and outdoor therapy areas to make it a more pleasant experience for families."

SSCY is a partnership between Manitoba Health, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Manitoba Family Services and Labour and a number of community service providers.

There are many agencies that provide specialized services to children.  Those located together at the new SSCY building will continue to work with others located off-site including the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Manitoba Education, Central Speech and Hearing Clinic, Open Access Resource Centre, St. Amant, the WRHA Child Health Program and the Movement Centre of Manitoba.

The specialized services that will soon be offered at SSCY include:

  • child development services;
  • central intake and delivery of therapy services including audiology, occupational, physical and speech/language therapies;
  • a communication disorders clinic;
  • rehabilitative services including prosthetics, orthotics, and seating and mobility assessments;
  • the Manitoba Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Centre and the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome outreach team;
  • the Autism outreach team; 
  • respite services;
  • Children's disABILITY Services;
  • the Integrated Children's Services team. 

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