A long waitlist is about to get shorter, thanks to an investment from the Ontario government.
The Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent provides much-needed services to nearly 3,500 kids and youth with special needs. But there are more kids and families waiting to access services.
“Right now, we have a waitlist list of over 1,100 kids waiting to get into therapy programs and we just don’t have the space,” explains Children’s Treatment Centre Foundation of Chatham-Kent President Mike Genge.
Expanding Their Footprint
The Foundation was established in 2010 with a primary focus on raising funds for the Children’s Treatment Centre. One of their biggest projects in recent years is building a new, bigger centre.
“Last April, the province committed the budget to our new build and then earlier this winter, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services announced that they’re going forward with building the 55,000 square-foot facility,” says Mike.
The organization unveiled the location of the new building nearly four years ago when they purchased a piece of land on McNaughton Avenue in Chatham. After a bit of a slowdown during the past two years due to the pandemic, things are starting to look up.
“We’re ready to go forward again and finish the campaign. Hopefully, when we get a chance to break ground, we can get into the Community Phase of the campaign. We haven’t asked the community for money yet—so far, it’s just been donors,” he explains.
The province will be paying for the construction of the new building, and the Foundation will be responsible for providing the furniture, fixtures, and equipment.
“We also want to raise some money for sustainability so that when we build the new building, we’ll have money in the bank to pay for the new overhead and be able to sustain our operations rather than going back to the community every year, telling them we’re behind. We’re trying to think ahead,” Mike says.
The new building will be AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) compliant, which is a top priority as their existing building doesn’t meet current standards.
“Every doorway in the current building is two inches too narrow. If we were going to move forward and renovate the old building, we would have to go and cut into every door and resize them,” Mike explains.
They’ll also have lots more room to grow and expand current services and programs.
“We’ll have a full-size gymnasium, which is something we’ve never had. This will give us room to do occupational therapy and physiotherapy. We will also have a therapy pool, expanded areas for social work and for parents to talk to staff about available resources, more youth meeting rooms, and an expansion of our autism program. The biggest thing is that the extra space will allow us to take those 1,100 kids off the waitlist and into the building,” he says.
With the green light from the province, Mike says they’ve hired a project manager to oversee the construction of the new building, and they’re hoping to break ground this spring.
In the meantime, the Children’s Treatment Centre Foundation has plans to bring back some popular fundraising events.
“We’re going to hold the Festival of Giving virtually again on June 25th. There will be a live auction where people can call in, a swag bag filled with food and drinks, and people can enjoy the live music and entertainment from their homes. Hopefully, next year we’ll be ready to go forward with an in-person event,” he says.
They will also host a golf tournament, a Charity 50/50 draw, and a campaign during Mother’s Day and the holiday season.
To learn more about the Children’s Treatment Centre and the Foundation, visit www.ctcf-ck.com.