Youth Healing Services (YHS) aims to contribute to the protection, rehabilitation and well-being in all aspects (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually) of all youth in our care, through the implementation of programs that provide safety, security and, most importantly, treatment.
Director of Youth Healing Services: Maria McLeod
We are committed to providing a compassionate and effective family-oriented program with respect to traditional values, Cree cultural teaching and language in order to provide a sense of acceptance and belonging for youth experiencing a wide scope of difficulties.
YHS mentors in a highly structured setting, teaching appropriate social and living skills enabling youth to achieve success outside the facility.
YHS’s goals include
- providing an atmosphere of warmth, consistency and predictability so the youth will be able to have an orderly and predictable view of their temporary environment;
- strengthening family bonding by empowering them with proper clinical tools and counseling;
- nurturing within the youth a new sense of self worth and self awareness;
- developing professional training programs to enhance the quality of services provided by caring, reliable, competent, motivated and engaged employees;
- providing a referral system when the needs dictate;
- advocating for the rights and needs of all youth.
YHS has 71 employees, including 36 childcare workers and four bush program childcare workers, in addition to the director, coordinator of resources, intake and clinical advisors, administrative and maintenance staff, and security staff. There are another twenty occasional workers on the recall list. Most employees received training over the year, participating in programs ranging from the National Training Program, the Charlie program for front-line workers, Honoring our Strengths training, Safe Food Handling, and others.
YHS operates three facilities around the clock, seven days a week. In Mistissini the Upaachikush Group Home has seven treatment beds, and the Reception Centre has twelve treatment beds and three emergency beds; in Chisasibi, the Weespou Group Home has nine treatment beds. YHS is working with Cree Justice towards building another 12-bed Reception Center in Chisasibi in 2017.
All placements are referred from Youth Protection Services and come from all nine Cree communities. The majority of the youth are placed under the Youth Protection Act (ordered or voluntary measures) and a few of them under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (open custody).
For every youth referred, there is an admission meeting between the Youth Protection worker and the YHS intake advisor. Shortly after this initiative meeting, a case conference is scheduled for each youth entering YHS, and a healing path plan, including clear goals and objectives, is developed; this process involves youth and parent participation.
Weekly clinical meetings are held to update files on the youth entering or already residing in the facility, to discuss approaches and strategies, to review and determine when to move on to the next objective for each individual, and to share information on different topics. In addition, all reports, whether they are incident reports, observation updates, reports for court use or discharge reports, are shared with Youth Protection.
Schooling within YHS
The Cree School Board provides a teacher for youth residing at the Reception Center in Mistissini to support school re-integration. While the program does not offer complete schooling and does not pass youth to the next grade level, it does give them a greater opportunity to succeed once they return to school. Both Upaachikush and Weesapou Group Home clients attend the local public school.
The Cree School Board and YHS have open discussions and are working on a partnership agreement in order to improve services.
The Bush Program, an important component of YHS, is a holistic land-based program that teaches cultural and traditional Cree life skills at camps for both inland and coastal communities. Cree elders are invited to participate in guiding the program’s development and delivering traditional knowledge.