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Live in Treatment Services (LITS), are out-of-home, community-based, secure settings that provide 24/7 intervention, and offer a variety of mental health programs and treatments (Preyde et al., 2020). While we know that 20% of children and youth will experience mental health issues (Merikangas et al., 2010; Waddell et al., 2005); 2% of those individuals will require a higher level of intervention such as the LITS due severe complex behavioural problems (Preyde et al., 2020). Despite this need for robust live-in treatment services to support these complex mental health concerns, LITS services across the province have been lacking in standardization and evaluation. Similarly, Hands had identified that local partners and service providers lacked clarity about our LITS services, eligibility criteria, and how to access this important service.

Given this information and awareness of identified gaps in the CYMH continuum of services provided in our communities, our agency undertook a redesign of the LITS program. Founded in community collaboration and evidence-based practices, the newly designed LITS model is an innovative stepped care approach. It aims to provide integrated care across sectors, that is grounded in data and outcome measurement. This presentation will speak to the 2 year journey; highlighting the process for identifying community needs, client and family engagement, community advisory, and phase 1 implementation.


Dr. Tina Benevides is a Data Analysis and Research Evaluator in the Strategy and Continuous Improvement Department at Hands The Family Help Network and was the project manager for the LITS Redesign. Tina holds a Black Belt in LEAN Healthcare and is a certified Change Management practitioner. She is also an adjunct faculty member in the Professional and Educational Studies Department at Nipissing University and has been an Apple Distinguished Educator since 2013. She completed her PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning. Through her research and her 22 year career in Education, Dr. Benevides has been committed to improving the lives of children and youth.

Trish Mintz, MSW, RSW is the Director for CYMH services at Hands The Family Help Network. Throughout her 23-year career in the mental health and addictions field, Trish has worked at both the micro and macro level engaging and designing programs across community and hospital sectors. She has a particular interest in the field of concurrent disorders, and a strong passion in human centric design processes.

Tina Thomason, RSW is the Clinical Manager of the LITS at Hands the Family Help Network. She has extensive experience and knowledge in the Mental Health and Addictions sector. With over 22 years of front-line intervention experience, she has been part of many multidisciplinary healthcare teams across multiple sectors. Her experience includes work in both live-in and community-based addiction treatment services, motivational interviewing, solution-focused, and cognitive behavioral techniques. She does this all from a strength-based, person-centered, and trauma-informed approach. Tina is currently completing her Master of Social Work  focusing on upstream public health interventions.


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