The John Howard Society has been active in prevention services in Sault Ste. Marie for 48 years. We have 15 staff, plus volunteers and students. Volunteers and students are trained to assist in client services and administrative functions. In 2015/16, 1,326 hours were contributed by volunteers. Due to our mandate of dealing with the risk factors that can lead to crime, many of our services are open to all members of the community; including youth in schools, offenders, the unemployed and high risk individuals: by virtue of housing issues, low education and no support systems. We also provide training to employers/employees to assist them in communication skills and conflict resolution in their businesses.
The best way to reduce crime and keep a community safe, is to prevent young people from dropping out of school, help families in trouble, improve the way people manage problems in life, rehabilitate offenders and keep people employed. The John Howard Society believes our range of services help people in all of these areas.
Board of Directors
Suzanne Lajambe – Executive Director
POLICY ON CLIENT CONFIDENTIALITY
The Society recognizes that maintaining confidentiality with respect to information about clients is essential to the counselling process and to professionalism in the delivery of service. The Society also recognizes that the disclosure of information is necessary at times. Disclosure of information about clients must be governed by policies defining the situations and circumstances in which disclosure is permissible.
Accordingly, the Society shall ensure that confidentiality of information about clients is maintained in the following ways:
i) All information about a client is kept confidential within the Society,
except when it has been determined that:
a) a danger to the community or to the individual exists,
b) failure to disclose the information will cause greater harm than the disclosure of the information,
c) there is a legal responsibility to disclose the information,
d) a public refutation of a statement made by, or on behalf of, a client is required to protect the integrity of the agency, or
e) the client has given permission to disclose information;
ii) Disclosure of information without the client’s permission must be authorized by the Executive Director or his/her clearly defined designate;
iii) No more information than necessary is disclosed when the above exemptions are invoked;
iv) Consent for disclosure of information may be given by a client who is twelve years or older. If the client is under the age of twelve, the consent of the client’s parent or legal guardian shall be obtained;
v) When obtaining permission from the client to disclose information, the client must be told what information will be shared, with whom and to what purpose. Consent for disclosure should be in writing unless written permission is impossible or impractical and action is required that demands disclosure of information. In such situations, verbal permission should be obtained and noted in the client file;
vi) When information is to be shared with other bodies or individuals and confidentiality is not assured by these bodies or individuals, the client must be cautioned;
vii) If information is received about a client from a third party, the third party shall be advised of the limits of confidentiality when there is reason to believe that they expect levels of confidentiality that cannot be guaranteed;
viii) No agreement with another agency, either verbal or in writing, shall restrict the application of the policy on confidentiality.
Our 5 year business plan developed in 2010 came to an end in 2015 with much success. Benefits to the community were evident as we “Developed and implemented effective client-centered programs for adults and youth”; through assisting the unemployed gain valuable social skills, helping them secure/maintain employment and/or return to school; providing increased outreach for those at risk of homelessness; and providing outreach services at the Neighbourhood Resource Centre and Hubs.
We also “Nurtured strategic communication and partnerships within our community”; with colocation of services from Group Health Centre/Algoma Public Health (Needle Exchange and Community Alcohol and Drug Addiction Programs); engaging the community in determining how to reduce the problems in the downtown core with Nordik Institute and Sault Ste. Marie Police Service; and providing training in Restorative Justice Practices to employees from Algoma District School Board, Huron Superior Catholic District School Board, Sault Ste. Marie Police Service and 30 community agencies.
Throughout the past 5 years we “Engaged in internal and external resource development” through securing funding from the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines for two interns yearly, to increase client supports, marketing and develop business plans for a social enterprise. Our Options Program expanded to increase awareness to the community, teaching problem solving, decision making and conflict resolution, while we received staff training in methods of improved client service.
What’s ahead for the next 5 years? Our new plan, developed in 2015 sees us through to 2020 and has four priorities. We’ve already begun to see some success in each of the areas in 2016. Here’s our goals/accomplishments in our first year of the plan:
- Neighbourhood Resource Centre – JHS provides service 5 days/week including 2 evenings/week
- Renovated and Expanded office space in our current location – to increase staff and group space for expanded services
- Increased Assessment to treatment – partnerships with AFS, CMHA, APH and SAH to provide single session walk-in service
- Hired two additional interns to increase supports in hubs and with clients in the office
- Nine schools have been designated as Restorative Schools in the Algoma District School Board as of 2016
- A new proposal is being considered for 2017 to expand Restorative Approaches training to Parents of Youth
- JHS staff are now in all hubs monthly, working with the volunteers and staff to promote restorative approaches.
- Began a new pilot program with the Police to expand our service in Bail support through a Restorative approach
- Many staff have participated in professional development in 2015/16 (i.e. Restorative Justice, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Human Trafficking / Sex Trade Workers, Mental Health First Aid, OrgCode Training in homelessness prevention)
- All staff have trained in at least two programs for back up and future sustainability
- Partnership developed with DSSAB, EDC to research the development of a social enterprise
Partnerships continued to be our focus in 2015/16! Many services have flourished due to dedicated Staff, Board involvement, Volunteers and many partnerships within our community. Forty-eight (48) years of service which improves each year through hard work and passion. Stay tuned for plans for our 50 anniversary in 2018!