Youth Services

Youth Outreach

I. Purpose

To improve the immediate and long-term social, economic and health outcomes for youth between the ages of 16 and 19 who are identified to be at risk.

Youth at risk can be defined as:

  • facing environmental, social, and family conditions that hinder their personal development and their successful integration into society as productive citizens.
  • having a greater propensity than their peers to engage in or be subject to risky behaviour, including school absenteeism, risky sexual behavior, delinquency, violence, and substance use and abuse.

Barker, Gary, Fontes, Miguel (1996). Review and Analysis of International Experience with Programs Targeted on At-Risk Youth. Washington : World  Bank. Working Paper No. 5

II. Outcomes

ACTIVE PARENTING – is a program that can be offered one-on-one or in a group to help you learn new skills as a parent to manage difficult situations and improve your relationships with your child.

  • Improved access to basic needs (food, shelter, transportation)
  • Improved problem-solving, life and communication skills
  • Access to other caring and supportive adults
  • Increase in positive engagement/attachment with community
  • Increase in positive, healthy relationships (with peers and caring adults)
  • Decrease/reduction in high risk behaviours
  • Achievement of academic/vocational success
  • Increased opportunities to experience success and build self esteem.
  • Increased “sense of belonging.”
Organization / System
  • Increased engagement/outreach with Youth at Risk
  • Increased collaboration/partnership with service providers at local levels to provide the continuum of supports and services to Youth at risk in a seamless manner, integrated manner.
  • Development of a Community of Practice (COP) at regional levels that would allow service providers to communicate, collaborate, share information and resources and better understand what services and resources are currently available (and evolving) in relation to this population, to inform practice.
  • Improved “systems” approach in delivering services/supports to Youth that reduces barriers to access and enhances meaningful youth engagement, achieved through regular feedback of data between service providers (Community, DCS, Justice, Health, etc.).

III. Core Services

  • Drop in: the availability of a place for Youth-at-risk to go where they can feel safe and build trusting relationships
  • Crisis Management: support for Youth in addressing and/or problem-solving crisis situations
  • Supportive counselling (individual/group)
  • Programs/Workshops: group sessions that address the holistic needs of Youth-at-risk (physical, social, emotional, vocational/educational)
  • Referrals/linkages: support provided to Youth in accessing services and supports (e.g., housing, health, mental health, income assistance, employment training, emergency services, etc.)
  • Mentoring: opportunities for mentoring by caring, responsible adults (i.e., volunteers) to act as role models and develop trusting relationships
  • Accompaniment: accompaniment and support for Youth in navigating systems and services
  • Outreach: creative ways developed to reach out to Youth-at-risk that address barriers such as transportation, mistrust, socioeconomic factors, etc.. This includes programs and services offered off-site in order to meet Youth where they are
  • Family Work/Support: recognizing the importance of family context, support may also include addressing youth-family relationships/conflicts

Guiding Principles

  • Strengths-Based: Staff and activities engage young people’s diverse talents, skills, and interests; building on their strengths and involving them in planning, decision-making.
  • Safe and Supportive Environment: programs and services take place in an environment that is physically/emotionally safe and supportive.
  • Youth Centered: Youth are entitled to have their basic needs met in a manner that guarantees maximum opportunity for personal fulfillment and achievement. Their development and well-being is the central goal of Youth Outreach programming.
  • Harm Reduction Approach: Approaches will focus on the reduction of negative consequences of high-risk activities without judgmental or coercive strategies. It recognizes that incremental changes can lead to healthier lifestyle practices.
  • Experiential Learning: opportunities are provided to practice new skills through hands-on experiences which incorporate opportunities for reflection and discussion.
  • Relationship-based: central to the work is building trust and developing a positive relationship with youth. In addition, programs and activities promote consistent and positive relationships with adults and peers.
  • Leadership Development: opportunities exist for the development of leadership skills and opportunities provided to practice these skills within the program.
  • Culturally Competent: Programs will demonstrate an awareness of the culture and diversity of Youth and strive to ensure the delivery of culturally competent programs and services. The organization will make efforts to reflect community diversity in its staff and board complement.
  • Holistic Approach: supports and services take into account the “whole” person, including physical, cognitive, social, emotional and creative development; recognizing the importance of context such as familial relationships, peer relationships, history, culture, race, etc..
  • Community-development: programs and services are relevant to the community being served; partnering and collaborating with existing community resources to build on programming and promote community capacity.

To Learn More about Youth Outreach or to set up service for a youth, Contact Us:



Schools Plus

Schools Plus is a collaborative interagency approach supporting the whole child and their family with the school as the center of service delivery.

The vision for Schools Plus is that schools become a convenient place for government and other services to be delivered to families.

This approach will make it easier for professionals to collaborate with each other on behalf of children, youth, and families. Families are served in a welcoming, accessible place that they are already familiar with—a school in their own community.

To find out if Schools Plus is available in your community school, Contact Us: