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What is the Urgent Response Services (URS)

URS is a time limited rapid service Ontario Autism Program response to a specific need that is designed to prevent further escalation of risk of harm to self, others, and/or property. Eligible families can receive up to 12 weeks of services and support specifically designed to address a behavior of concern. Service response may include:

  • Short-term interdisciplinary consultation to a child/youth’s intervention team and/or family and/or educator(s)
  • Respite services
  • Direct support to the family and/or professionals involved to implement behavioral and therapy strategies with the child/youth using a mediator model approach

Each family will have a URS Coordinator working with them to develop and oversee the service plan and to provide service navigation to other services within or outside of the OAP

Who is eligible for the URS?

URS is available to children registered in the OAP who are exhibiting one of the following high-risk behaviours that have escalated in intensity over the preceding 14 day period:

  • Suicidal Ideation or Behaviour
  • Violent Thinking
  • Fire Starting
  • Harm to Animals
  • Risk of Exploitation
  • Self-Injurious Behaviour
  • Aggression
  • Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour
  • Flight Risk
  • Property Destruction

The child may be eligible whether they are currently receiving OAP core services or not.

How is the URS accessed?

Families can self-refer or can be referred by a clinician, care coordinator or other relevant professional by contacting Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, which is the Lead Agency for the Sarnia-Lambton area.

Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare

Local areas served: Bruce-Grey, Chatham Kent, London-Middlesex, Huron-Perth, Oxford-Elgin, Sarnia-Lambton, Windsor-Essex
Tel: 519-257-KIDS (5437)
Provider’s web address:

Upon referral the family will be screened to determine if they are eligible for the URS. If they are eligible, a URS Coordinator will work with the family to develop the intervention plan. The URS service is free for the family.

If they are not eligible, the URS Coordinator will help the family connect with other services within or outside the OAP.

What happens while receiving URS Services?

While Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare is the lead for our area, the service delivery model will rely on contractual arrangements with local Sarnia Lambton service providers and others across the West Region.

  • The first step is to design a service plan for the child and family in collaboration with the family and arrange for delivery of the components of the plan. The URS Coordinator may make referrals at this point to other services outside the URS that might be helpful to the family.
  • Service elements offered through the URS may be part of the plan as determined by the URS Coordinator and other professionals. The services provided will focus on preventing further escalation of risk of harm to self, others, and/or property.
    • The behavioural intervention is based on a mediator model approach. This means the clinician works with the family to support them in managing the child’s behavior. The clinician does not provide behavioural intervention directly to the child alone. Therefore, the family needs to be prepared to work actively with the clinician(s) over the 12-week period to de-escalate the target behaviour.
    • Respite services that are part of the URS Plan will be time limited and will require the respite provider to participate in the delivery of the intervention plan for the child.
  • Once the plan is implemented the URS Coordinator will monitor the delivery of services and will meet with the family at minimum, at the 6 week period to review the plan
  • Other professionals currently working with the child/family, such as a core service provider or an educator, may be called upon at the start of the process to be part of the team designing the intervention for the child. They may be asked to meet during and/or at the end of the service period to support the family.
  • Current service providers may also receive mediator model or consultation support from those providing the URS intervention.

What happens at the end of URS Services?

Before the end of 12 weeks of service, the family will meet with the URS Coordinator to review the status of the child’s behaviour and determine what other referrals can be made on their behalf to services within or outside the OAP. The family is then discharged from URS at the end of 12 weeks of URS service.

What is NOT part of the URS?

  • The URS is NOT A CRISIS SUPPORT SERVICE. If, as a result of the screening process, the family is determined to be in crisis the URS Coordinator will help them connect with appropriate crisis services in the community.
  • The URS does NOT OPERATE ON A 24/7 BASIS. Families and/or service providers should contact the service during usual business hours.
  • Receiving URS services DOES NOT PROVIDE FAST-TRACK ACCESS TO ANY SERVICES within the OAP (including core clinical services) or outside the OAP (such as core mental health services). Families will be referred to other services and will be required to follow their intake protocols and wait lists for service.
  • The URS is NOT AN OUT-OF-HOME RESIDENTIAL SERVICE. While respite services may be part of the URS Plan it will be time limited and will require the respite provider to participate in the delivery of the intervention plan for the child.
  • The URS does NOT PROVIDE DIRECT FUNDING TO FAMILIES. URS services are provided by the Lead Agency at no cost the family.