About Us

About Us

Who We Are

Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca is an organization dedicated to helping children, youth, adults with a developmental disability and families, achieve the best possible care and help they need when they need it the most. 

Our team, comprised of Child and Family Therapist, Youth Counsellors, Behaviour Therapists, Social Workers, Psychologists and many other health care professionals, provides services to more than 11,000 individuals in North Bay, Nipissing, Muskoka, Parry Sound, and Northern Ontario each year. We provide professional services in the areas of: adult developmental services, autism, child development, child and youth mental health, justice services and navigation supports.

Hands is a fully accredited, bilingual, not-for-profit registered charity that makes a positive difference in the lives of the individuals and families for whom we provide support.

We have over 230 pairs of hands, therefore over 230 leaders. Complete trust and confidence is instilled in all members of Hands to make a difference and it is this culture that fosters our very forward, ever-changing ways in which to service our clients.

Hands has a budget of $19 million, with the majority of funding coming from the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Health.

Mission, Vision and Values

Our Mission

To provide comprehensive client-centered, professional and skilled services to infants, children, youth, families and adults with a developmental disability that address social, emotional, behavioural, physical and developmental difficulties, and make a positive difference on their quality of life.

Our Vision

To improve the well-being of individuals, families and our community through clinically effective partnerships.

Our Values

  • Client-Centered
  • Accessible
  • Responsive
  • Integrated
  • Strength-Based
  • Comprehensive

Our History

Hands, formerly known as Algonquin Child and Family Services, is a provincially recognized organization employing over 230 staff who share a legacy built upon the amalgamation of Concordia Centre incorporated in 1983 and Parry Sound District Children’s Mental Health Services incorporated in 1979.

In 2000, these two organizations became one, creating a new agency known as Algonquin Child and Family Services; cutting across a large geographic area and mandated to provide multiple services and programs in Nipissing and Parry Sound / Muskoka Districts.

In 2008, Algonquin Child and Family Services unveiled their new identity: Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca. 

Lead Agency for CYMH

Lead Agency for Nipissing, Parry Sound and Muskoka Districts
Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca and its Core Service Providers and the Community Mental Health Planning Table partners are continuing to support Child and Youth Mental Health Services in the Muskoka, Nipissing and Parry Sound service area.  This is also in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Provincial Consortium of Lead Agencies for provincial for child and youth mental health services.

Core Service Providers:

  • Simcoe Muskoka Family Connexions
  • Community Counselling Centre Nipissing
  • Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca


Board of Directors

Hands is governed by a Board of Directors, comprised of volunteer members, all of whom are elected by the membership and who bring a variety of perspectives, skills and experiences to the table.

Hands’ 2019-2020 Board of Directors:

Cheryl Sutton (Nipissing)

Jean Leblanc (West Nipissing)
Vice President 

Susan Hegge ( East Nipissing)

Heather Adamson (West Parry Sound)

Tonia Blenkarn (West Parry Sound)

James Decker (West Parry Sound)

Jadah Folliott (East Parry Sound)

Christiné Misch (Nipissing)

Richard Thorne (Nipissing)

Liam Sangster (Nipissing)

Timothy Seguin (Youth Member)

Dawn Lagesten (Nipissing)

Chantal Phillips (Nipissing)

Strategy and Performance Team

Hands’ Strategy and Performance Team is the decision-making body relating to organizational matters and
operational planning.

Chief Executive Officer
Andrea Roberts

Director of Adult Services
Lexi Deece-Cassidy

Director of Child and Youth Services
Michelle Dermenjian

Director of Corporate Services
Paul Laperrière

Interim Director of Autism and Behavioural Services
Dr. Karen Grattan-Miscio

Senior Manager of Human Resources
Beverly Martin



Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca and Developmental Services Ontario – North East Region are committed to excellence in serving all customers including people with disabilities, in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca’s Policies and Procedures for AODA

Please utilize our Customer Feedback Form to let us know how we are doing. Completed forms can be sent to mgravel@handstfhn.ca

To access information in an alternative format, please contact us at info@handstfhn.ca or 1.800.668.8555 ext. 1210.

TTY: 1-800-855-0511


Client Rights and Privacy 

All individuals have rights when receiving services and supports from Hands and Developmental Services Ontario – North East Region. Learn more by reading our Statement of Client Rights. 

Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca, in accordance with the Personal Health Information Protection Act of Ontario Nov. 2004, recognizes the importance of the privacy of your personal health information and is committed to respecting, safeguarding and protecting your personal health information. To learn more, please see Hands’ Statement of Protection of Privacy. 

Feedback and Complaints

Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca welcomes feedback on our services and appreciates you sharing comments, thoughts of appreciation, or complaints with us.

Tell us how we are doing.

French Language Services

Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca is designated as an official provider of French-language services under the French Language Services Act in Nipissing, Timiskaming and parts of East Parry Sound. Hands complies with all requirements under the French legislation. For more information about the French Language Services Act visit: http://www.ofa.gov.on.ca/en/flsa.html.

Publications and Reports

Strategic Plan

strategic plan image

Hands is launching a new strategic planning initiative.  With that process underway, the Board of Directors has extended the current Strategic Plan to 2021.

Hands’ Strategic Plan (2016 – 2018)

Hands’ Annual Reports

View the 2019-2020 Hands’ Annual Report

Public Sector Directives

Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca (Hands) is designated a Broader Public Sector (BPS) organization with mandatory requirements of the BPS Accountability Act, 2010 (“the Act”). As such, Hands adheres to BPS Directives issued by Management Board of Cabinet.

Financial Statements