• 24/7 crisis services
  • 403-299-9699
  • 1-800-563-6106
  • or click here

Frequently Asked Questions About Our Agency


Q: What is Wood’s Homes?

A: We are a Calgary-based, nationally recognized children’s mental health centre. We celebrated 100 years of service in 2014 and have a long history of helping children and their families with mild to severe emotional and behavioural mental health issues.


Q: Who started Wood’s Homes?

A: In 1914, Reverend George Wood said “yes” to a soldier who asked him to care for his two motherless children so he could serve overseas.


Q: I understand Wood’s Homes was once Christian-based and is now non-denominational.

A: Over the past two decades, we have become very diverse in response to recognizing and accepting families of various religious persuasions. We officially removed the word Christian from our formal name in 2007.


Q: Where is Wood’s Homes located?

A: We work on two campuses in Calgary, one in Bowness, the other in Parkdale but we work in several communities across the city. We also work in Lethbridge, Canmore, Strathmore, Fort McMurray and Fort Smith, N.W.T.


Q: Who are the principal users of Wood’s Homes programs?

A: Calgary children, teens, young adults and their families. However, we also work with clients from across Alberta and some from many different pockets of this country the Maritimes, Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Nunavut. View a chart of our client numbers by Calgary quadrants, regions in Alberta and provinces in 2016.


Q: Are Wood’s Homes programs all campus-based?

A: No. Campus-Based Mental Health Programs comprise only one-third of our 43 programs and services. Approx. 150 young people live with us at any given time. Our services fall under these pillars:

  • Crisis & Counselling
  • In-Home Support and Foster Care
  • Street Services
  • Campus-Based Mental Health Programs
  • Community-Based Therapeutic Services/Next Steps
  • Collaborative Family Services
  • Specialized Learning Centres
  • Regional Programs



Q: What age group does Wood’s Homes work with?

A: The majority of our youth in campus-based care are 12 to 18-years-old; however we work with children from newborn to 25. We provide a campus-based mental health program for children under 12, and community-based therapeutic programs for young people 18 to 24-years old, as well as for caregivers and parents.


Q: Does Wood’s Homes only work with the ‘worst of the worst’ youth?

A: No, that is not true, and saying that is also unfair to the children in our care. It is true that we frequently accept young people that government or other agencies are unable to manage - and that is because we live our mantra: We Never Say No. We Never Give Up. We Never Turn Anyone Away.


Q: Do some of the youth come with criminal history?

A: Sometimes. Many of these young people are simply experiencing tough times and they have come to us with backgrounds of abuse, neglect and trauma. The youth in residence are not in secure treatment they have the freedom to walk off campus, but we are still their home.


Q: What is the size of Wood’s Homes, and how many people do they help every year?

A: We are one of the largest child- and family-serving agencies in the province with 550 staff and 100 volunteers. Our 2016 annual operating budget is more than $32M. We work with 20,000 children and their families every year.


Q: What are the primary sources of income?

A: We are an independent, non-profit organization. Our operating funds are drawn principally from contracts and grants with provincial governments, including ministries of Children's Services, Education and Health. Some programs use a fee-for-service model with a variety of funding sources. Any discretionary funding for new and innovative programs is raised within the community, via the Wood’s Homes Foundation. Capital funding is almost entirely raised from private and community sources.


Q: Is Wood’s Homes financially secure?

A: Wood’s Homes operates on a stable financial structure. We do not operate on a financial deficit model, nor do we carry long-term debt.


Q: How is Wood’s Homes governed?

A: Wood’s Homes is an independent, non-profit, community-owned and governed agency.

Wood’s Homes has three Boards of Directors:

  1. Wood’s Homes Society (PropertyCo)
  2. Wood’s Homes (OpCo)
  3. Wood’s Homes Foundation

The Boards of Directors are supported by multiple Board committees that include community advisory members with significant professional credentials and experience in the sector.

Our Chief Executive Officer is Dr. Jane Matheson.


Q: Does Wood’s Homes maintain reserves for difficult financial times?

A: We are comprised of three key elements: The Society and its subsidiary Wood’s Homes (the main governing bodies drawn from the general community) and the Foundation (also governed by community representatives, but responsible for fund development). A key mandate of the Foundation (which was established in 2000) is to establish and maintain reserves to ensure the short and long-term financial strength of the agency.


Q: Does the Alberta government cover costs of youth coming from out-of-province?

A: No. Youth from outside the province are here under independent contract. Their respective governments pay for their treatment and their education costs as well.


Q: What is the cost of residential treatment at Wood’s Homes?

A: The cost varies depending on the program or service, but it is approximately $450-475 a day. This is approximately one-third the cost of hospital-based treatment programs.


Q: How does Wood’s Homes measure its success?

A: Wood’s Homes established a Research Department in 2001 to investigate program effectiveness and determine the need to revise, update or terminate programs.

We have established a strong reputation for our work in developing frameworks for successful treatment outcomes.

Outcome measures include:

  • Measurement of mental health improvement and reduction in risk issues
  • Sustained quantitative evaluations while a child is in care
  • Parent/caregiver satisfaction assessments
  • Family capacity measurement and improvement


Results are reported to an Advisory Committee of professional practitioners, the Governing Board (bi-annually) and to our funders.

In April 2017, Dr. Angelique Jenney was named the Wood's Homes Research Chair in Children's Mental Health. The Chair, in partnership with the University of Calgary, is the first of its kind in Canada because it is based in the community.



 Q: There appears to be many agencies doing similar work – is this duplication of services perhaps inefficient?

A: It is true there is similar work being carried out, but each agency specializes in meeting different needs of the community. These specialized services fill vital gaps in the social support system. The diversity and immediate response ensures that very difficult and often complicated social needs are addressed with minimal bureaucratic delay.


Q: How is Wood’s Homes different from Hull Services?

A: Hull Services offers confined programs (secure services) and programs for children and teens.


Q: What changing trends does Wood’s Homes foresee?

A: Wood’s Homes has maintained its commitment to providing services to meet the changing needs of our communities.

We know that:

  • Children are coming into care at increasingly younger ages with more complex and mysterious mental health conditions.
  • Mental illness is increasingly threatening the lives of our children. The suicide rate for youth in Canada is the third highest in the industrialized world with suicide being one of the leading causes of death in youth ages 15 to 24.
  • It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder the single most disabling group of disorders.
  • Societal awareness of mental health problems, and the stigma associated with it, is increasing.


Q: Does Wood’s Homes have partnerships with other agencies and institutions?

A: Partnerships are vital to the success of our programs. We have partnerships with many groups including the Calgary Board of Education, Calgary Homeless Foundation, Family and Community Support Services, Alberta Health Services, United Way, ALIGN, Calgary John Howard Society, Horizon Housing, the University of Calgary and many others.

Wood’s Homes is engaged in multiple levels of advocacy. This includes ongoing liaison with government, community groups and organizations including ALIGN, the Child Welfare League of Canada, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Calgary Foundation, Propellus, the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations among others.

Back To Top