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The Case of LOFT Community Services and Ryerson University

Community-based complex case management

Partnership background

The partnership between LOFT Community Services and Ryerson University began in 2017 and continues today, having expanded to include the University of Toronto – St. George Campus in 2017 with the same model being used on that campus. Its purpose is to serve students with complex care needs.

Partnership roles

Ryerson University brought forward their ideas of what they envisioned for their students with complex care needs and LOFT offered them a variety of resources to meet those needs. Ryerson counselling staff provided student referrals to LOFT by screening students and then providing a one-page report to LOFT for students who were deemed eligible for their services. LOFT then provided those students with direct services based on their specific needs. All of LOFT’s on-site services were available to Ryerson students. These services include access to a psychiatrist, various forms of therapy groups and dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT).

Benefits of the partnership/program

  • Capacity – this program provides students with complex needs access to services in a timely manner. It has also increased the capacity of Ryerson to meet the needs of students with less complex needs through on-campus programming.
  • Transitions – students are still able to engage with the services at LOFT even after they’ve left school.

Lessons learned

  • Connecting with students – because students’ schedules are very busy, it can be difficult to connect with them in a timely fashion. Flexibility around the times of day that services are offered may help with mitigating this.
  • Funding – sustained, consistent, long-term funding helps to prevent gaps in service provision due to contracts ending and waiting for funding renewals.
  • Service turnaround – since these students require longer-term supports, there’s a longer turnaround period for services. Therefore, wait lists occasionally form.
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