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HomeRegional NewsNewsNew child and youth team coming to Kootenay-Columbia schools

New child and youth team coming to Kootenay-Columbia schools

The Kootenay-Columbia school district has been chosen as one of the next seven B.C. school districts to receive an Integrated Child and Youth (ICY) team, intended to provide mental health and substance use services.

Superintendent Katherine Shearer said the community-based multidisciplinary teams are part of a provincial strategy and deliver “wraparound” services for children and youth in school districts, from early years to age 19.

Core team members will come from Interior Health, the school district itself, and the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

“The hope is the teams are able to meet children and youth and families where they feel safe and comfortable,” Shearer said.

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“It isn’t intended that these services are provided only through schools. It is intended to have a family and student-centred approach.”

Five districts received ICY teams in 2021-22.

Shearer said the Ministry of Education asked if they would be interested in having such a team and felt ready to implement one.

“We indicated that we thought that would be a great opportunity for our community and provide better services and access to services for children and youth in our area, so we were all for it,” Shearer said.

For the school district, it will mean additional funding to hire a full-time clinical counsellor and a half-time peer support worker who will become part of the ICY team.

Shearer said co-ordinating the team and working through a plan to implement it will take some time. Their target is to have it fully rolled out in 18 to 24 months.

Kootenay-Columbia will be the first district in the Kootenays with an ICY team, although the province has promised funding to implement teams in 20 school districts by 2024.

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