Residentially-based placement and treatment services
Structured & Consistent Environment
A structured and consistent environment is imperative to meet the needs of the group as a whole, as well as the individual. Youth need to be provided with the security and safety that structure and consistency provides in order for them to be able to grow and make positive decisions in their lives. This structure provides them with the knowledge necessary in learning to live with others. It allows them to experience a type of authority that empowers and informs. The consistency of the reinforcement schedule is reflective of the efforts of the staff and directors within the house. All staff share responsibility equally for the maintenance and development of the structure and consistency of the program. This will be reflected in the scheduling of shifts, the plan of care and the day to day living within the house. Ongoing staff development and training is also imperative in creating and maintaining this environment.
The development and effectiveness of treatment plans for the individual residents is based on their specific needs and is assessed through:
- Data – referral package, previous testing, and so forth
- Interviews with the Clinical Support Team and in-house staff
- Observation of interactions within the home
- Relationships and interactions within the community (school, friends, etc)
- Plan of Care, Individual Crisis Management Plans, and progress reports
The exact treatment focuses, in conjunction with focused and goal-oriented plan of cares, consist of:
- Comprehensive intake procedures and orientation
- Individual therapy with one of the clinical support staff, supported by the clinician
- Group sessions either inside the home and / or provided by the community, or one on one sessions with a psychologist/psychiatrist
- A structured reinforcement program
- Family therapy
- Advocacy with other institutions
- Crisis Management (ICMP Plan)
- Regular and ongoing review of progress
- Social Skills and Life Skills Groups
- Sexual Abuse Trauma Assessments
- Psychiatric consults
EYC is that of a systemic process in which children and their families become part of the team in the process of gaining knowledge and support in helping the individual take responsibility and control of their personal difficulties. The professional staff and referring agency as well as the community based team become facilitators within this process. Goal setting and treatment will be developed within the regular reviews with family, community team members and referring agency caseworkers.
Therapeutic counselling encompasses a holistic approach for each youth through a variety of intervention techniques. Treatment goals focus on the resident and provide individual insight and support to the youth and their families, as well as the team. Treatment goals, expectations and individualized plans of care assist the child, family and staff team. The staff team, within their daily routine, assist in the treatment process through positive activities and interaction. Evolving Youth Care provides both group and individual counselling, utilizing a variety of professionals, including but not limited to clinicians who are contracted by EYC. Additionally, in an effort to accommodate special needs, EYC through its community partnerships, has access to occupational therapists, registered psychologists and psychiatrists. These services are open to youth placed within EYC’s residential programs, on a fee for service basis where applicable.
We endeavour to provide as many of the services and resources needed to meet the needs of residents within our program. However, there are times when a child may benefit from the use of outside resources. Those youth who have already made a connection with a counsellor from a service in the community prior to placement within the programs will be encouraged to maintain this relationship in order to provide a continuity of service. The Management Team and senior staff continue to develop and maintain a good working relationship with other social, educational and health resources within the community.
Community Out-Reach Program
We believe that the successful integration of the children into our program and community is related to the acceptance of the home itself within the community. In appreciation and acknowledgment of the support and services we receive from individuals and programs within our community we endeavour to offer various support back to the community, and encourage youth to be active members in their communities. Some examples of activities that youth are encouraged to participate in are local clean up days, fun days, and seasonal/cultural celebrations.
Recreation, Creativity and Culture
We believe strongly that a major contributing factor of emotional well-being is physical health. Residents are encouraged to participate in as much physical activity as possible. Regular outings to the local pool, school gymnasium, recreational park etc. are a major component of our overall program. Outdoor camping and nature walks are also seasonal components of the program. Children are also encouraged to participate in a recreational activity of their own independent of the house; this could include creative activities such as horseback riding, soccer, piano or guitar lessons. Residents are encouraged to be involved not only in an activity they are familiar with but also to experiment and try activities new to them. Arts and crafts within the house will be encouraged as a creative activity and will also be used as a therapeutic tool in individual and group interactions.
As EYC accepts placements from a variety of geographical locations, all efforts are in place to ensure that cultural sensitivities are recognized and attempts are made to ensure that each youth placed within EYC homes is offered the opportunity to continue to practice beliefs appropriate to their heritage.
EYC supports youth in their cultural heritage through participation in community resources and cultural groups. Youth are also supported in participating in sharing their culture in the residences through meal preparation, sharing activities, language and elements of their own heritage. Special dietary requirements and cultural food items are incorporated into the residences menus. Youth create ‘life books’ which talk about their own connection to their family and roots while also documenting their time in care and documenting the relationships made while in the care of EYC. Youth are encouraged to learn more about the elements of their own culture and background through the completion of activities and worksheets.
LGBT2SQ+ children and youth can experience unique risks and challenges in the child welfare system. At EYC we are committed to providing a safe and non-judgemental environment for LGBT2SQ+ children and youth. Employees at EYC attend ongoing training which raises awareness and addresses many of the environmental challenges presented for LGBT2SQ+ children and youth such as:
- Sexual Orientation
- Gender Identity and Gender Expression
- Human Rights
- Use of inclusive language
- Issues for children and families
- Local and online resources and books
EYC has and will continue to recruit staff and operate several foster homes with families from differing cultural backgrounds and ethnic heritage so as to continue to meet the needs of the youth arriving in care.
EYC offers an independent living program which is adapted and supervised within our residential programs. S.T.E.P.S stands for Semi Independence Living Through Empowerment, Progress and Skills. The program was developed for youth in care requiring a stepping-stone between Semi-Independent living and independent living. Its purpose is to provide youth aged 16 year and older who are under the Care of the Children’s Aid Society with a program in which they can develop skills to live independently. This program provides our youth with the opportunity to earn a pay cheque on a bi-weekly schedule by successfully completing 5 daily goals which are conducive to their personal success.
Staff, Staff Development & Financial Resources
The staff within EYC homes are graduates of the Child and Youth Worker program and/or have University Degrees in the Social Sciences field. All staff are trained in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention. On-call supervision is available to staff with a clear line of authority. Back-up staff, as part of a mobile crisis team, will be available to attend to emergencies as needed. The Director and Management Team will be available 24 hours per day. The consultants employed by EYC may include a Registered Nurse and an Addictions Counsellor. These individuals comprise the Clinical Team, and are available to provide counselling for our youth and training and consultation for the staff.
The administration of EYC believes that working with children and youth requires ongoing training, growth and reflection both as an individual and as a team – this is led by our in-house Supervisor of Learning & Development. All staff are required to participate in monthly in-house staff development sessions as well as outside seminars. Areas of staff training will include: Family systems theory, crisis management, suicide prevention, sexual abuse (identification and working with victims), understanding self-injury, behaviour management techniques, Therapeutic Crisis Intervention, art therapy, issues specific to female adolescents, trauma theory training, and policy and procedure guidelines. These areas of training are reinforced and enhanced in personal and group supervision.
In conjunction with the Plan of Care, we provide an assessment of the child in the context of their immediate environment, specifically, in their interactions and relationships with staff, peers, the community, and with themselves. The adolescent’s view of “how and why” they are in this situation and what needs to happen to make changes is important. Also important, are their views and experience of the pushes and pulls of family and peers, their commitment to change or stay the same, and the personal meaning of their behaviour is included in the assessment. We employ various models of seeing the world, not one more important than the other, but hopefully providing a comprehensive view that is useful in advancing the health, safety and dreams of the adolescent coming to our program. We encourage staff to employ their individual styles and techniques within the program and during their interactions with the residents and feel that it is important in developing a culture within the home. Most importantly, we expect genuineness, caring and nurturing from all staff towards the residents, as well as a commitment to personal, professional reflection and growth.
Management’s commitment is to provide such opportunities for growth and the evolution of the program. Our assessment, therefore, includes a statement of how we as staff impact on the resident. EYC Inc. will provide the placement agency with a monthly report of our youth’s progress, behaviour, goals, etc. throughout the duration of the youth’s placement.
All referrals, where possible, will be encouraged to attend mainstream schools. Alternative educational programs will assist in the programming and supervision of students who are unable to cope with the traditional structures, organization or demands of a conventional educational environment. Individual planning, based on the understanding needs of each child, are developed with the goals of promoting a positive self image, positive interpersonal effectiveness and enhancement of strengths and talents. It is preferable that all students be identified / assessed through the Board of Education Identification, Placement and Review Committee.
Depending upon the availability of a bed, EYC will accept placements 24 hours per day. However, it is the expectation that the necessary papers and consents will be signed immediately upon the youth’s arrival and follow-up information will be provided as soon as reasonably possible thereafter.
In addition Evolving Youth Care offers emergency services to local Children’s Aid Societies, supporting youth in the community on an emergency basis.
Length of Stay
There is no fixed length of stay for a resident within EYC. The length of any placement will be determined by the placing agency, the resident and the house supervisor, jointly. However, we do feel that long-term change and development is often a slow and lengthy process.
Treatment in the group and foster care programs are structured in a variety of ways. Youth can be seen by a consulting psychiatrist (based on availability) specializing in child and adolescent mental health for the purpose of assessment and medication review. They are screened and evaluated for participation in an internal drug and addictions counselling group facilitated with a trained counsellor. Youth have individual crisis response plans, behaviour management plans, and incentive plans based on their needs and personal goals and interests and reviewed by the agency clinician to ensure adherence and efficacy. Our staff and supervisors work with families, schools, counselling services, and other community partners to ensure a collaborative and cohesive approach to care. Our staff teams are trained in CPS (Collaborative Problem Solving), TCI (Therapeutic Crisis Intervention) as well as being offered team specific training through safeguards for the particular needs of youth in their care.