For almost five-years, Matthews House has provided individualized, quality care in a homelike environment for children with complex care needs. Committed to a person-centred approach, Matthew’s House has given families an opportunity for respite to ensure that their own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness remain intact. Communitas Supportive Care Society, the parent organization of Matthew’s House, has provided this service since Matthew’s House opened its doors in 2013. This service has been supported by a blended partnership of government, the community and private donors.
Matthew’s House is now in a transition from the existing respite model to a new model of residential care for youth who require complex medical care as they transition into adulthood. These changes come as a result of ongoing financial constraints and will be rolled out over the next six months, with current respite services gradually being stepped down.
Karyn Santiago, Chief Executive Officer of Communitas, acknowledges that this change will affect those who have come to rely on Matthew’s House for respite.
“This is challenging news for some of our families. It is also difficult for our staff – all of whom have built special relationships with the kids they care for.” Karyn Santiago, CEO Communitas
Santiago noted that Communitas is committed to making the best use of its resources while meeting the growing needs in the community. The organization also has experience with transforming its services to meet the needs of the people it serves.
“This change at Matthew’s House is another example of such transformation; balancing the needs of the community with the limited resources – most notably, lack of core funding – while continuing to provide specialized quality care needed by children and youth with high medical needs,” she says.
At a forum earlier in the week, Santiago shared the news with the families, providing them with alternative resources. She assured them that in the coming months, staff will be conducting one-on-one interviews with each family to help ensure a plan is in place in advance of these upcoming changes. Staff who will be impacted by the changes will be offered employment within Communitas.
Santiago acknowledged the loss of respite services and offered hope to families in need of the transitional care that Matthew’s House is now exploring. She also expressed gratitude for the staff who have served at Matthew’s House. She concluded by saying “We look forward to this next phase in the life of Matthew’s House as we continue to provide quality care to youth as they transition into adulthood.”