The Youth Advocate Program is a crime prevention program that works with youth ages 9-15 engaging in or at high risk of engaging in criminal activity by strengthening connections and reducing barriers to create safer communities.
What is the Youth Advocate Program all about?
The Youth Advocate Program goals are to increase the capacities of youth, families, and communities. We do this through advocacy, connections to community resources, and service provision. We offer intensive and integrated interventions to prevent youth from being charged with future crimes.
The program is aimed at youth aged 9-15 who meet the program requirements. Each youth accepted into the program gets paired one on one with a Youth Advocate Worker in their community who supports the youth and family. We have a maximum of 45 participants at a given time.
If the youth is 15 at the time of referral they will be considered for the program.
The staff team reviews the circumstances of each youth to determine fit for the program. Information is taken from the initial referral and conversations with the youth, parent/guardian, and other service providers.
To be accepted, there must be evidence that youth are:
- Engaging in criminal activity or presenting criminal behaviours. This could mean the youth is facing current charges, going through a restorative justice process, or engaged in behaviours that could be criminally charged but have not been for whatever reason.
- Exposed to crime through peers, family, or community.
- Experiencing hardship or presenting criminal behaviours in two out of the three life domains of home, school, and community.
If you think a youth would be eligible for referral to the program, please reach out to us or complete the Online Referral Application.
If you are interested in learning more about other resources for youth who aren’t eligible to be referred to the program, please check out our Resource Guide.
This program is voluntary for the youth and can not be court-appointed. Consent must be given by the parent/guardian and the youth before a referral is made.
- What is Offered Through YAP
- Additional support outside of home or school
- New and fun experiences and connection to recreational activities
- Connection, support, and navigation with community resources
- IWK and mental health supports
- Department of Community Services
- Court systems
- Restorative Justice
- Recreation programs
- Community-based organizations
- Therapy and Counselling
- Employment and volunteer
- Our Approach
The Youth Advocate Program takes a youth and family-centered and strengths-based approach – family voice, family choice. Staff use a trauma-informed lens and Wraparound principles through the practices of crisis intervention, outreach, education, and resource navigation.
Each youth accepted into the program is offered an individualized plan that is culturally appropriate and takes into consideration the youth’s abilities, skillset, and background. Youth Advocate Workers work with youth and families to help build relationships and connections within their community and to navigate existing barriers by creating an action plan that aligns with the youth’s goals.
The Youth Advocate Program uses principles of Wraparound which is a strengths-based planning process aimed to support and equip youth and families with the tools and skills to improve their lives. Youth Advocate Workers encourage youth to leverage their natural supports to build lifelong connections, bring appropriate support to the youth, and work in collaboration to provide support.
The Youth Advocate Program provides mentoring and safe spaces for youth and families to feel heard and valued in a one-on-one setting. We challenge damaging stereotypes and negative misconceptions by collaborating with supports that the youth and families are already accessing to ensure they are receiving the proper resources in an appropriate and timely manner. Through these supports, youth can start to regain control over their life and feel an increased sense of worth and belongingness.
- How do I refer a youth?
Fill out an Online Referral Application and a member of the Youth Advocate Program will contact you within one week.
Contact the Intake & Assessment Coordinator directly at 902.817.7530 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note: A referral does not guarantee acceptance to the program. All information will be kept confidential.
When you send in a referral, staff will contact you within 5 business days. If you don’t receive contact from staff within 5 business days, please contact us at: email@example.com
Within 2 weeks of the referral being sent out, the Intake and Assessment Coordinator will schedule a time with the family to complete the intake.
- Who meets the requirements of the program?
There are many different factors that we take into consideration throughout the intake and assessment process so there is no “one size fits all” for who will be accepted into the program. Please look through the information below and reach out if you have any questions.
- Is the youth between the ages of 9 and 15 at the time of referral?
- Does the youth live in one of the Youth Advocate Program communities shown on the map (Boundary Map is below)?
- Is the youth facing charges?
- Do they present behaviours in line with chargeable offenses?
- Is there an exposure to crime through the community, family members, or peers?
- Are they struggling in more than one area of home, community, or school?
Please see the three examples below showing different risk levels to give a better idea of how a youth might be assessed for the program requirements. If you are unsure if the youth would be a good fit, please reach out or send in a referral.
- Caught smoking weed with friends
- Coming home late
- Acting out in school
- Not attending class
- Disrespectful language towards family members at home
- Recently quit a school sports team
Considered to be at a lower risk of engaging in the type of criminal activity we are aiming to reduce. Please see our Resource Guide for appropriate services. If the behaviour of this youth changes or escalates please send in a referral.
- Suspected of selling weed and vapes
- Got into a fight at schools, no charges laid
- Getting suspended
- Threatening violence at home
- Police have been called to the school after a youth uttered threats to another student
- Family members who are involved in criminal activity
Chargeable offenses, exposure to crime through family members, struggling at home and school. Considered to be at high risk of engaging in criminal activity and may be accepted into the program. Please send in a referral and staff will do an intake and assessment with the youth to determine eligibility and interest.
- Has violent attitudes and beliefs and acts upon them
- Peer group is known to have been arrested for arson
- Police called the school after the youth’s behaviours resulted in a lockdown
- Facing charges for theft at a local store
Facing charges, exposure to crime through friends, and struggling at school and in the community. Considered to be engaging in criminal activity and are likely to be accepted into the program. Please send in a referral and staff will do an assessment with the youth to determine eligibility and interest.
Still not sure?
If you are still uncertain about the youth’s eligibility after reviewing the examples, please email us firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Intake and Assessment Coordinator for more information.
YAP Boundary Map
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