Ministry of Community Ministère des Services sociaux et
and Social Services communautaires
Ministry of Children and Ministère des Services à l'enfance et à la
Youth Services jeunesse
Toronto Region Région de Toronto
477 Mount Pleasant Road, 3rd Floor 477, ch. Mount Pleasant, 3e étage
Toronto, ON M7A 1G1 Toronto, ON M7A 1G1
March 18, 2006
MEMORANDUM TO: MCYS funded Children’s Transfer Payment Agencies in Toronto
FROM: Marilyn Renwick
RE: Children and Youth Services Information System
(CYSIS) Data Dictionary Orientation and Training
I am writing to update you on the work of the Data Analysis Co-ordinators (DACs) from
Mothercraft Institute for Early Development and the required use of the new data dictionaries for
the MCYS required data elements. As well you will find attached, the upcoming orientation and
training sessions on the data dictionaries for agency staff.
You will recall that on April 12, 2005, Toronto Region announced that we were was successful
in securing $1.4M in funding for three years, through Ontario Government’s “Strengthening our
Partnerships” (SOP) initiative, to develop and implement a common community database
(CYSIS) for the MCYS funded children’s transfer payment (TP) service providers in Toronto.
The first phase of the project involved the development of data dictionaries for all MCYS
required data elements, with common definitions and interpretations.
I want to thank all those who took part in the orientation sessions and focus groups over the
past 10 months. Your thoughts, ideas, concerns and general feedback have truly shaped both
the data dictionary and database that will be used by our service community.
Over the past several months, the Data Analysis Coordinators, staff from children’s transfer
payment agencies across Toronto, and Toronto Region program staff participated in a series of
focus groups and discussions designed to clarify and draft further definitions for the data
elements required by the Ministry for their reporting requirements. The input was critical to the
development of common definitions and feedback from the sessions was incorporated into the
final product. The data dictionaries are now complete and are on the DACs website at
As of April 1, 2006, all MCYS children’s TP service providers in Toronto will be required to utilize
the definitions and interpretations contained in the data dictionaries. We all know that access to
reliable, valid data for the purposes of meaningful analysis will lead to a better understanding of
our service system. Combined with other pertinent data, such as the Non-Residential Services
Report (NSR), which is submitted by some agencies, it will enhance the ability to more
effectively plan services for children and their families.
The data dictionary orientation and training sessions for staff will be held during the week of
March 20, 2006. Please see the attached schedule for dates and times. It is the responsibility of
each service provider to ensure that the appropriate numbers of staff are trained on the use of
the data dictionaries. Staff should contact Mothercraft directly at 416-483-0644 or via the
DAC website, by Monday March 13, 2006, to reserve their space.
As you may be aware, the CYSIS database development is close to completion and the pilot
phase of the project will be underway in March 2006. It is anticipated that the database will go
“live” in early summer 2006, at which time the pilot agencies will be able to fully migrate to
CYSIS. The migration of the eligible agencies choosing to use CYSIS will begin soon thereafter
and be phased in at appropriate intervals. It is anticipated that the migration will be complete by
March 31, 2007. Orientation and training will be provided as appropriate.
While there is an expectation that all MCYS children’s service providers in Toronto use the data
dictionaries, the migration to CYSIS is optional.
For those agencies that choose to use CYSIS, the definitions contained in the data dictionaries
will be programmed into the database. Therefore, after the training, and when the agency
begins to use CYSIS, staff will simply input their data and the database will ensure that it is
For those agencies that decide to continue with their current database, it will be an individual
agency responsibility to ensure that the database has been programmed to incorporate the
correct data definitions. While the DACs can provide advice and consultation on this matter,
they will not be able to provide technical support.
On a related note, the regional roll-up of the Toronto Region Non-Residential Services (NSR)
report, required by many, but not all children’s TP service providers, will be analysed using 3rd
and 4th quarter data for 2005/06. A memorandum about the next steps relating to the
collection/submission of the NSR data and incorporation into the CYSIS database will be
coming out next week.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the great work of the DACs led by Dr. Laurie McNelles at
Mothercraft Institute for Early Development. While there is still much work yet to do, the team
has consistently shown their ability to meet prescribed timelines while ensuring that a
transparent community process is followed. Their leadership and dedication to this project has
been clearly evident.
Any questions or concerns regarding the data dictionary or database can be directed to Pam
Carlaw, Program Supervisor at 416-325-0593 or firstname.lastname@example.org .