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BC Children’s Hospital - Child Psychiatric Unit

Program Objectives

The Child Psychiatry School Program’s primary objectives include observing, assessing, and identifying school-based strategies and supports to enhance each elementary-aged student’s transition back to school following their admission into the Child Psychiatry Unit at BCCH. The school program includes a blended model of classroom time, formalized academic assessment, parent consultation, coordination with each child’s enrolled school, and transition planning. The school program offers the opportunity for students to maintain engagement with learning during their stay, with an intensive focus on understanding and supporting development of self-regulation and social-emotional learning. Students’ participation in the school program allows for increased understanding of each child’s unique strengths, along with the identification of potential supports, accommodations, and school-based services that may support their overall inclusion and well-being at school. Observations of the child’s functioning in the classroom setting are shared with the Child Psychiatry Unit’s multidisciplinary team to assist in developing a holistic understanding of the child’s strengths and needs.

Referral Process

Children are admitted to the school program following their acceptance into the Child Psychiatry Unit’s Pre-admission Program. Children may be referred to the Child Psychiatry Unit by their community Child and Youth Mental Health case manager, psychiatrist, or pediatrician.  During the pre-admission phase, the program’s teachers meet with parents to obtain consent to liaise with their child’s enrolled school, to gather school records, and to identify school-based goals as part of their overall admission.

Discharge Process and Transition Planning

Admissions in the school program vary in length, depending on the child’s individual goals and as determined by the medical team. The school program coordinates with parents and the child’s enrolled school to plan for the child’s return to school, which culminates in an integrated Community Discharge Meeting where school-based observations, assessment results, and support strategies are shared. A formal report summarizing the child’s participation in the school program may include assessment results, a regulation plan, and strategies to support academic and social-emotional learning. The program teachers offer post-discharge consultative support to the child’s enrolled school to further facilitate the transition back to school and the implementation of school-based recommendations. 

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