About Us

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Wood’s Homes?

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. Our continuum of services includes specialized therapies, assessments, leading-edge counselling services, education and research. We believe in a family-centred philosophy and recognize all definitions of family.

Who started Wood’s Homes?

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. He pledged to look after Willie and Mary while their father went to war.

Is Wood’s Homes non-denominational? I’d heard you were once called Wood’s Christian Home.

Yes, that was the name of our organization at one time, but we have been non-denominational for the past few decades. We officially removed the word Christian from our formal name in 2007.   

Who are the principle users of Wood's Homes programs?

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.  

Where do you operate your programs?

We work on three large campuses in Calgary; one in Bowness; one in Parkdale; one in Inglewood. We also work in several communities across the city and provide services in Lethbridge, Strathmore and Fort McMurray.


How many children live with you at any given time and what types of programs do you provide?

Approximately 150 young people live with us on any given day; 32 typically on each of our Calgary campuses.  We provide close to 43 programs and services which fall under these pillars:

  • Crisis & counselling services
  • Short-term stays
  • Live-in treatment programs
  • Programs for parents/caregivers and families
  • Schooling
  • Programs for at-risk youth to support and prepare them for independent living.

What age group does Wood’s Homes work with?

The majority of the youth who live with us are 12- to 18-years-old however we work with children from newborn to 24. Our U12 Program is for children under the age of 12, and our community programs work with young people 18- to 24-years-old.

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

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.

Do some of the youth come with a criminal history?

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

What is the size of your organization and how many people do you help every year?

We are one of the largest child and family-serving agencies in Western Canada, with 550 staff and 100 volunteers. Our 2018-19 annual operating budget is $43M.  Each year, we work with more than 20,000 children, youth and families (from across Canada) and respond to 15,000 crisis calls.

What are your primary sources of income?

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

Is Wood’s Homes financially secure?

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.

How is Wood’s Homes governed?

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

The Wood’s Homes Society is the parent company to Wood’s Homes and the Wood’s Homes Foundation and is responsible for the property and financial assets of the organization.  

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 who has been with the organization for more than 30 years.

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

We are comprised of three key elements: Wood’s Homes, Wood’s Homes Foundation and Wood’s Homes Society. 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 organization.

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

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

What is the cost of treatment for young people living at Wood’s Homes?

The cost varies depending on the program or service, but it is approximately $450-$525 per day. This amount covers all of the expenses for the youth, everything from food, shelter, clothing and education to specialized mental health treatment services. These costs are approximately 1/3 the cost of hospital-based treatment programs.

How does Wood’s Homes measure its success?

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 developing frameworks for outcome. 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 and to the Governing Board bi-annually.

Wood’s Homes also shares its success with the greater community. In 2014, Wood’s Homes and the University of Calgary partnered to establish the Wood’s Homes Research Chair in Children’s Mental Health to enhance mental health treatment services in the community.  We are proud to be working with Dr. Angelique Jenney, who came to  us  from the Child Development Institute in Toronto.

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

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.

How is Wood’s Homes different from Hull Services?

Some of the programs at Hull Services are referred to as secure services (confined programs). Some youth find greater success in these secure settings while others are better served on non-secure settings. We do work with Hull Services with a common goal ensuring all vulnerable youth get the best treatment possible.

What changing trends does Wood’s Homes foresee?

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 growing.

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

Partnerships are vital to the success of our programs. We have informal and formal partnerships with many groups including the Calgary Board of Education, Calgary Homeless Foundation, Alberta Health Services, United Way, Association of Community Services, University of Calgary and many others. Click here for a list of our formal partnerships.

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