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Child and Youth Mental Health Day Treatment

Welcome to the Day Treatment at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre. We are part of the Child and Youth Mental Health Program at McMaster Children’s Hospital. We provide treatment, education and support to young people and families whose lives have been affected by mental health issues.

We will work closely with you and your family to design a program to meet your goals.

This program is voluntary. You choose to take part and make a commitment to work with us towards your goals.

We look forward to meeting you, or you and your family.

What To Expect

Working with your Day Treatment Team 

When you arrive, we will talk with you and your family to better understand what led to your referral and how we can help.  The Day Treatment team will act as your ‘coach’. We will work with you throughout your treatment program.  

We are committed to helping you: 

  • Understand what led to your referral
  • Identify goals to work towards
  • Learn and apply skills that help you achieve your goals

Understanding what led to your referral 

Before starting the Day Treatment Program, you will be expected to attend an orientation to learn about Day Treatment. You will also attend a screening appointment where you will be invited to share important information about yourself with your team. This will help you and your team understand why you were referred to Day Treatment.  

Setting goals 

  • We will help you identify goals to work towards while at Day Treatment. 
  • Your goals will guide your treatment program. 
  • You will also set goals each day for activities that you would like to begin doing again, or to do better (when you are managing your symptoms more effectively).

Our program is based on your active participation and autonomy. The goals set by you are collaboratively reviewed when you start the program, through weekly check-ins, and when you finish the program, allowing you and your team to monitor progress and develop strategies to overcome any barriers.  

Setting goals is an important part of daily life. For young people living with mental illness, setting goals helps to move towards regaining a sense of control and improving how to live life. 

Learning skills 

Day Treatment staff will help you:  

  • Identify skills that could help prevent and manage difficulties the future. 
  • Learn and practice new skills. 
  • Apply these skills to work towards your goals. 
  • Understand how to apply these skills in your life outside of Day Treatment. 

Restoring function 

Our programming centers on functional restoration through social, psychological, and functional rehabilitation. The goals of restoring function are to: 

  • Increase function
  • Improve your capacity to cope
  • Promote productivity in home, work, or school

We will work closely with you to improve overall health and wellbeing to foster active participation in activities driven by your goals. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will I be at Day Treatment?  

How long you attend Day Treatment will depend on your goals and your progress.  

Most young people take part in Day Treatment for about 4 weeks. Some go on to attend a 2-week Return to School Program with us. If you have outpatient supports in the community, you may continue with these during your time with the program  

Who will be involved in my care? 

The care you receive is based on your needs. In Day Treatment, our health care providers work with you and your family, as a team. This means that we share information, communicate with each other, and work together.  

Our Team includes: 

  • Child and Youth Workers 
  • Occupational Therapists 
  • Social Workers 
  • Teachers

What are the Day Treatment hours? 

Day Treatment runs Monday to Friday from 9 am to 2 pm, except for Tuesdays which run from 9 am to 12 pm.  Day Treatment is open on Professional Development (PD) days and some school holidays. Please ask our staff for a complete list of closures.  

What do I bring to Day Treatment each day? 

Please bring: 

  • Your Health Card
  • Any schoolwork you are currently working on 
  • Clothing that is suitable for walking and outdoor activities

Checking in Belongings for Safety: 

When you arrive each day, check in and secure your bags in your personal locker.  

At times, we may ask to look into bags and other objects to make sure we are maintaining a safe environment.  

If you choose to bring in any of the following items, they must be kept in your locker during the day:  

  • Communication devices such as cell phones, i-pads, tablets, computers, cameras, and recording devices
  • Cigarettes and lighters (no smoking is permitted on grounds)

What types of spaces will we use?  

At Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre, we have access to the following spaces: 

Multipurpose room 



Outdoor natural spaces 

3rd floor terrace garden 

Fully equipped kitchen 

Sensory rooms with adjustable lighting 

Is transportation provided? 

We do not provide transportation to Day Treatment. This is you and your family’s responsibility. If it is difficult to get to Day Treatment, please talk to us.  

If you live in the Hamilton area, some help may be available from your school board. Please note that school board transportation is not available during all PD days, school holidays and summer holidays (July and August).  

Where can I get dropped off or park? 

If you are coming to and from Day Treatment on your own, you can be picked up and dropped off at the front entrance to Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre (325 Wellington Street N.).  Day Treatment is held on the third floor.  

The following parking locations are available at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre: 

  • Wellington St. parking lot – This parking lot can only be accessed via the Wellington St. N. entrance
  • Victoria Ave. parking garage – Entrance is located off Victoria Ave. N. behind the hospital
  • Regional Rehabilitation Centre parking lot – Entrance is located off Birge St. This is a pay-and-display lot. Please purchase a ticket from the parking machine and display face up on the dash of your vehicle.

For more information regarding parking locations, rates, and safety please read Parking: Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre.  

Are meals provided? 

Young people are asked to bring their own lunch to Day Treatment. Snacks are provided. We will provide a morning snack if you are unable to eat breakfast before coming to Day Treatment.  

Can I have visitors? 

You will attend programs during the day, so there is no opportunity to have visitors. We ask that you do not visit other young people at the Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre.  

What if I need to take medication? 

We need to be aware of all medications that you take, especially those you take while at Day Treatment.  

Please let us know when there are any changes to your medications, so we can keep your record up to date.  

We do not provide medications. If you have medications to take while at Day Treatment, put them in your locker.  When it is time to take your medication, please do so. If you need to have reminders, please tell us. 

What about my schoolwork?  

Our team includes a teacher from the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board. Our teacher will work with you and your school to plan how you can continue your schoolwork at your own pace while you are at Day Treatment.  

We will ask for your permission to:  

  • Send a letter to your principal explaining why you are not at school, and
  • Speak with the school to better understand you and plan your return to school

Who do I call if I am sick, going to be late or unable to come? 

If you are going to be late or unable to attend Day Treatment, please call us at 905-521-2100, ext. 72831. 

Attendance at Day Treatment is important. If you repeatedly cancel or fail to attend Day Treatment, you may be asked to leave the Day Treatment Program. This is because space in the program is limited and/or it might not meet every young person’s needs. 

If you are not feeling well, or have a cough or fever: please call before coming to Day Treatment. The nurse will call you back and help you decide if you should come to Day Treatment or stay home.  

What if the weather is bad? 

Please use your judgment when travelling to Day Treatment in snowy, slippery, or unsafe conditions.  

If the program is closed because of the weather, someone on the team will reach out to you as soon as possible to let you know. 

If driving conditions get worse through the day, we may need you to go home early for your own safety.  

If your ride wants to pick you up early, please ask them to call and let us know. 

Make sure we have up-to-date contact information for your caregivers (cellphone and work numbers), in case we need to arrange an early pick up. 

Can I make my own treatment decisions? 

The hospital operates under the Health Care Consent Act. This Act states that a capable patient of any age can consent (agree) to a treatment. The consent of a parent or caregiver is not necessary.  

Our team decides whether a patient is capable. You are capable of making a treatment decision if you can:  

  • Understand the information relevant to the treatment decision 
  • Understand the possible consequences of making the decision or not 
  • Tell us your decision 

If the team finds you incapable of making a specific treatment decision, then someone else (usually your parent or guardian) will be assigned to make the decision. This person is called a “substitute decision maker”.  

We will take all reasonable steps to make sure that families are involved in and informed of their child’s/youth’s care. 

However, if you are capable, you can make treatment decisions without a parent’s/caregiver’s consent.  


How do you ensure safety at Day Treatment? 

Everyone’s safety is important. We need to provide a safe environment, free from:  

  • Racism, sexism and/or negative comments about sexual identity. We do not allow clothing or any items that support any of these ideas.
  • Violence, aggression, self-harm, bullying, threatening, lying and/or verbal abuse. 
  • Substances including alcohol and drugs (and the supplies related to drug use).

We have a policy that guides our response to these behaviours if they occur.  

Please talk to staff right away if you feel unsafe or think you or someone else may do something dangerous. Staff will help you learn and use skills that will help.  


How is the privacy of personal information protected? 

We will protect the privacy of your personal information. We will ask for your permission (consent) before sharing your information with others or getting information from others about you.  

  • If you are capable, you have the right to keep your information private from anyone you choose, including your parents/caregivers. 
  • If you are not capable of giving consent, then we will look to a “substitute decision maker” for consent. If this is the case, we will continue to inform you of treatment decisions made and answer any questions you may have.

We also want your parents/caregivers to feel comfortable sharing their concerns with us. We will keep these concerns within your care team unless we have consent to share.  

There are times when we cannot maintain confidentiality. If we become aware of a situation in which a young person needs protection, we are required to report it to the appropriate authorities. Those situations may include:  

  • If any child or youth under the age of 16 is being hurt or abused, or at risk of being hurt or abused
  • If anyone is in imminent danger of hurting themselves or someone else
  • If a regulated health professional is or has been sexually inappropriate with someone
  • If a court official asks for our records.

How you can Protect Privacy 

  • Respect your own privacy and confidentiality. Think about what you choose to share with other young people. We encourage you to only share private information with the team. 
  • Respect the privacy and confidentiality of others. Do not discuss other people’s personal information with anyone.
  • Romantic relationships are not permitted between young people attending Day Treatment.

While taking part in program, please avoid relationships with fellow participants outside of Day Treatment Program hours.  

What if I need help after hours?  

We do not provide emergency care after hours. If you need help when Day Treatment is closed, you have these options:  

  • Call your family doctor
  • Call your local crisis team. In Hamilton, call COAST at 905-972-8338, call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 or text them at 686868 or visit www.kidshelpphone.ca  
  • Go to the hospital emergency department
  • Call 911


At the start, end and during Day Treatment, we will ask you to complete questionnaires about how you are doing. This information helps us keep track of how things are going during Day Treatment and work out how best to support you.  

Using information to improve services  

Sometimes, we group your data together with data from other youth and families to look at how well our services are doing overall. When the data is grouped, identifying information (name, address, date of birth) is removed so no-one can tell whose data it is. Your information helps us to improve our services and respond better to the need of children, youth and families in our community. 

Will I be involved in research? 

Research is an important part of the work we do. Through research we learn how to best help children and young people with their mental health.  

While in Day Treatment, we may ask if you would like to be involved in current or future research. Whether or not you wish to take part in research is up to you. Your decision will not affect your care in any way.  

Taking Part In Your Treatment

What are my responsibilities and rights? 

You have the responsibility to: 

Be respectful of other young people , staff members and building property 

Act and communicate in a considerable manner- free from harassment, bullying, and discrimination based on age, gender, ability, class, ethnicity, and sexual orientation  

Actively participate in your care and be willing to engage in day treatment programming 

Maintain privacy and confidentiality (e.g., refrain from sharing personal information, keep discussions private, and be mindful of group members boundaries) 

You have the right to:  

Be treated with respect and dignity by all group members and staff 

Feel welcome and safe in a nonjudgmental, supportive, inclusive, and fun environment  

Receive high quality group treatment and individualized goal support  

Be listened to and supported in making decisions about the support you receive 

Day Treatment programming and group details 

Your Day Treatment Program will involve activities that help you to reach your goals. You will be asked to take part in: 

  1. Treatment groups
  2. Functional activity groups
  3. Individual and family support


  1. Treatment groups

You may benefit from attending treatment groups such as:  

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) Healthy relationships
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) Relaxation
  • Goal setting Process
  • Social skills Health
  • Stress/Transition management Return to school
  1. Functional activity groups

You will attend a variety of functional activity groups. In these groups, you take part in activities that contribute to achieving your goals.  

For example, one of your goals may be “to be able to do schoolwork while being around other people”. This may be a short-term goal that will help you in achieving your long-term goal of returning to school. 

You may be involved in daily activities such as:  

  • Arts and crafts 
  • Board games 
  • Indoor or outdoor physical activity 
  • Cooking

Some activities such as walks will involve going into the community.  

  1. Individual and family support

During your Day Treatment Program, you and your parents or caregivers will attend:  

  • One family meeting, and 
  • One planning meeting near the end of your stay.

We will try our best to schedule sessions so everyone can attend.  

Parent/Caregivers are encouraged to participate in the Emotion Coaching group. Caregivers can speak to the Day Treatment team for more information or to register for this group. 

If you are involved in individual or family therapy outside of Day Treatment, we encourage you to continue this therapy during your time at Day Treatment.  


Research is an important part of the work we do. Through research we learn how to best help children and teens with mental health needs. While in Day Treatment, we may ask if your child would like to be involved in current or future research. Whether or not your child wishes to take part in research is up to your child and your family. Your decision will not affect your child’s care in any way.