FOCUS (Furthering Our Communities Uniting Services) Toronto is a collaboration of over 154 Community Agencies led by a cross-sector partnership between the Toronto Police Service, the City of Toronto and the United Way of Greater Toronto. The model brings together the most appropriate community agencies through weekly situation tables to provide a focused, wrap-around, risk-mitigation approach to help the most vulnerable individuals and families who are at Acutely Elevated Risk (AER) due to complex crises, potential harm, and/or victimization. There are six geographically based situation tables across the city.
FOCUS is not an entity or ‘brick and mortar’ organization but a systems-focused collaboration. If a participating FOCUS Agency partner, has a client (individual, family, neighbourhood etc..) that they feel meets the threshold of ‘Acutely Elevated Risk (AER)’, (i.e. the situation overwhelms their ability and/or mandate to help or they believe further crisis, harm, victimization will result.) then that agency or the Toronto Police is supported in bringing that situation forward to their local FOCUS table to determine if their recommendation meets the criteria for AER and the coordinated response required to minimized harm. Once the cross-sector table confirms that the recommendation meets the AER criteria, the FOCUS Table response is a multi-agency, coordinated, team approach, providing the individual/family/neighbourhood with the supports that they need to minimize harm and establish greater stability
What is Acutely Elevated Risk?
Acutely Elevated Risk refers to situations where imminent harm is present. Without immediate intervention, these situations will escalate and a negative outcome such as complex crises, potential harm, criminalization, and/or victimization is likely to occur.
FOCUS Situation Tables:
The purpose of the Situation Table is to bring together diverse service providers to identify situations of Acutely Elevated Risk and prevent negative outcomes from occurring. Service providers rapidly respond and offer wraparound services to individuals with diverse needs who find themselves at risk of complex crises, potential harm, and/or victimization
How it Works:
By bringing together diverse sectors (e.g. mental health, addictions, criminal justice, social services, youth and family services, developmental services, etc.), the Situation Table collaboratively resolves situations of Acutely Elevated Risk. Individuals in complex situations, facing multiple risk factors that cannot be addressed by any single agency on its own, are presented. The most appropriate service provider then takes the lead and interventions are planned. The response is a multi-agency, coordinated, team approach within 24 to 48 hours, providing the individual/family/neighbourhood with the supports that they need to minimize harm and establish greater stability.
Meetings are held at FOCUS tables across the City. Each of the six tables meets once per week at a designated time and place.
- FOCUS Downtown West (11, 14, 52 Divisions)
- FOCUS Downtown East (51 Division)
- FOCUS Rexdale (22, 23 Divisions)
- FOCUS Scarborough (41, 42, 43 Divisions)
- FOCUS Black Creek (31, 32 Divisions)
- FOCUS York (12, 13 Divsiions)
FOCUS Toronto Star Article
FOCUS Presentation to Toronto Police Services Board
Contact FOCUS Toronto
FOCUS Coordinator Detective Brian Smith
United Way of Greater Toronto
Coordination Manager Evon Smith
City of Toronto Community Safety & Wellbeing