Child and Youth Services
Child and Youth Services (CYS) provides evidenced-based and effective programming to young people and their families who may be struggling in areas of their lives due to poverty, homelessness, addiction and mental health, and, as a result, are at risk of or already involved in the youth justice system. Our full range of services, from prevention to intervention, allows young people to access the necessary supports based on their risks and needs.
Our services are guided by the belief that there is potential in every individual and possibility for growth and change. We believe that young people can choose to live lawfully and successfully, provided with the requisite information, skills, motivation, opportunity and support.
Through our residential and community programs we are highly committed to supporting children, youth, and their families to achieve their personal, social, educational and vocational goals, and, ultimately, avoid involvement or re-involvement in the justice system; and, to increase community safety through crime prevention and crime reduction measures.
If you would like to reach the Director of this department, contact Christine MacIntosh at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Prevention Programs
- CHOICES School-Based Prevention Program
- Diversion Programming
- Non-Residential Attendance Centre
- Non-Residential Attendance Centre - French
- Saint John Bosco Achievement Centre
- A Different Street Housing Program
- A Different Street Housing Program- French
- Summerville Supportive Housing
This service supports young people who are at risk for potential involvement in the justice system through groups geared toward their gender and age, as well as life circumstances.
Programming for females includes:
- Group program that explores creating healthy connections and distancing from unhealthy ones; understanding aggression and conflict in peer relationships; developing perspective-taking skills and building empathy; and, increasing awareness of direct and indirect consequences of engaging in behaviours that risk problems at school, at home and in the community.
- Group program that supports enhanced communication skills—attending to nonverbal behaviour, active listening and being assertive; effective responses to negative influences and pressure situations; dealing with anger in others; receiving and giving feedback respectfully; and, the process of negotiation.
- Group program that includes identifying emotions and determining when they become too intense; recognizing external and internal triggers for different emotions; understanding the link between harmful self-talk and intense emotions and loss of control; challenging and changing harmful self-talk to stay in control of feelings and actions; and, learning calming techniques to regain control of thoughts and feelings.
Programming for males includes:
- Group program that assists them in understanding their emotional and behavioural reactions in situations—specifically, those that put them at risk—as consequences of their own beliefs and thoughts. Taking the power away from other people and things that happen, youth learn how their own perspectives, interpretations and expectations in situations are what cause them to feel and act in ways that can get them into trouble in the school, home and community.
- Group program that supports them in exploring their connections to people, places and things, and the influence of these relationships—in particular, friendships—on the choices they make in different areas of their lives, including those that lead to problems at school and in the community.
- Group program that supports opportunities to learn and practice cognitive-behavioural skills essential for dealing with the individuals and incidences they encounter at school, at home and in the community. Sessions focus on communication (active listening and assertiveness), peer refusal, and problem-solving.
Groups are offered on a service-contract basis. For more information on contracting this service for your agency, contact Christine MacIntosh at email@example.com.
CHOICES School-Based Prevention Program
This project is in partnership with the Ottawa Catholic School Board, and is funded in part from our community partners: Desjardins Caisse populaire, Community Foundation of Ottawa and Catholic Education Foundation of Ottawa. This program began as a two-year pilot project, funded through Crime Prevention Ottawa. Due to the program's continued success, Choices has expanded into our fourth year of implementation and now services two inner city Ottawa schools.
Recognizing the importance of education in supporting a young person away from potential involvement in the justice system, this program takes place on school property. Programming for both males and females at the junior level of high school supports their learning and development in three distinct areas: attitudes, values and beliefs; peers and relationships; and, social skills.
For more information on this project, or to bring this programming to your school, contact Haleigh Guest at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This programming is provided in partnership with the Ottawa Community Youth Diversion Program, operated through the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa.
Gender-specific groups focusing on peer influences and healthy relationships, and the role of thoughts and thinking in risky and criminal behaviour, support youth in being accountable for actions that have brought them to the attention of police and the courts.
For more information on these groups contact:
Christine MacIntosh at email@example.com.
And, for more information on the Ottawa Community Youth Diversion Program, visit bgcottawa.org.
Non-Residential Attendance Centre
The Non-Residential Attendance Centre (NRAC) is a non-custodial sentencing option as identified in the Youth Criminal Justice Act, and part of a continued plan from the Youth Justice Division of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to decrease reliance on custody, and further intensive community-based interventions.
The goal of this program is to reduce offending behaviour by targeting specific risks demonstrated by youth through intensive counselling and programming. This program is intended for moderate- to high-risk youth who require intervention in multiple criminogenic need areas.
Youth Justice Probation Officers are the sole referral source to NRAC. They refer youth to NRAC under a general counselling condition or a specific court-ordered NRAC condition.
Youth involved with NRAC are assigned a counsellor for individual work and attend group programming that targets the factors placing them at greatest risk to re-offend.
Programming for males include:
- Antisocial attitudes, values and beliefs
- Anger and aggression
- Cognitive and social skills
- Drug and alcohol use
- Antisocial peers and other unhealthy influences
- Victim awareness
- Independent living skills
- Education, employability and employment
In March 2008, NRAC became the first Canadian pilot site for a new and comprehensive gender-responsive curriculum for justice-involved girls and young women. Girls . . . Moving On is programming that reflects the most of what is known, and the best of what is believed, to impact their involvement in the justice system. For information about Girls . . . Moving On, including philosophy, guiding principles and content, follow this link:
Beginning in 2009, the Youth Justice Division of the Ministry of Children and Youth has undertaken a province-wide implementation and evaluation of
Girls . . . Moving On. NRAC is one of many sites, including both custodial and non-custodial settings in all regions of Ontario, participating in this large-scale project.
NRAC operates in two locations, one central for youth living in east and central Ottawa and another in the west end for youth living west of downtown.
For more information on this program please contact:
Christine MacIntosh at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saint John Bosco Achievement Centre
The Saint John Bosco Achievement Centre (JBAC) is a program provided in partnership with the Ottawa Catholic School Board and Eastern Ontario Youth Justice Agency (EOYJA). Our shared vision is to provide a unique and specialized educational program to justice-involved youth that matches their needs and complexities.
The goal of this program is to reduce youths’ risk of ongoing and future involvement in the justice system by supporting their education achievement and, subsequently, their vocational interests and success; and, increasing their participation in positive and structured activities. These are two areas in which these youth have typically experienced significant struggles.
The program staffing model, supported financially through the Ottawa Catholic School Board and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, includes one full-time teacher and one full-time youth counsellor. JBAC is affiliated with Immaculata High School.
- A flexible schedule that provides the opportunity to attend school up to four days per week, for up to two hours per day, as determined by what’s realistic for each youth
- Support in the development and achievement of meaningful goals for each youth’s academic, vocational, personal and social success
- Achievement of actual high school credits toward a diploma
- Prompts for consistent attendance, including assistance with transportation
- A relaxed, welcoming, engaging classroom experience for up to just six youth at a time
- Healthy meals and snacks on-site
- Attention, concentration, participation and safety fostered by gender-specific time blocks
Youth must already be involved in the services of EOYJA or JHS’s Attendance Centre or residential programs to have access to JBAC. On occasion, as spots are available, Youth Justice Probation Officers may also make referrals.
A Different Street Housing Program
A Different Street Housing Program provides semi-independent accommodation and support to young men, ages 16 to 20, who are justice-involved and homeless, or at risk of being so. The John Howard Society of Ottawa and Eastern Ontario Youth Justice Agency are partners in this program.
ADS provides male youth, regardless of their complexities and challenges, an opportunity to access safe accommodations and utilize on-site supports to assist with their life goals. Through these on-site supports, residents are assisted in actively addressing their specific personal, social, vocational, and health-related needs. As well, they are supported in developing the resources, including skills and attitudes, necessary for a successful future in a longer-term, more independent living situation.
This program strives to contribute to a reduction in the number of individuals using homeless shelters, living on the street or unstably housed, as well as to intervene with justice-involved and at-risk youth to decrease their risk for future offending and other problematic behaviours.
The average residency is between six and twelve months. Individuals approved for residency will have the responsibility of rent during their time at ADS.
- Comprehensive assessment
- Collaborative case planning
- Individual counselling
- Practical assistance
- Safe, affordable housing
- Monitoring of court conditions
- Referral to other community resources
For more information on this program contact:
Mark Routliffe at email@example.com
Summerville Supportive Housing
Summerville Supportive Housing (SSH) was conceived specifically for young women, between the ages of 17 and 21, facing risks to community membership and participation. Young women living in this building will come from a variety of adverse backgrounds, but have this in common: a strong commitment to themselves, their future and their community. They will be pursuing higher education or meaningful employment. They may be parenting young children. They will be working to develop the resources in themselves and in their surroundings that will promote success across their lives. And, the certainty of affordable, safe and stable housing will provide a foundation on which to build such success.
- Access to a safe and affordable longer-term apartment in an independent housing environment
- Supports and services from a gender-informed perspective to meet demonstrated needs in four major life areas: career, family, community and self
- Support in moving on to fully independent living
For more information about this program, including the application process contact:
Alison Newson at firstname.lastname@example.org