Changing Direction in Support of Aboriginal Youth
Age group: Adolescence (12-17)
Gender: Mixed (male and female)
Location: British Columbia
Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 1
Continuum of intervention: Secondary crime prevention; Tertiary crime prevention
Changing Direction in Support of Aboriginal Youth is a program designed to reach out to Aboriginal (First Nations, Métis & Inuit) youth using the Wraparound approach.Footnote1 This program focuses on providing individual and family intervention plans, as well as parenting workshops and cultural events to counteract the gang lifestyle.
The program is centered on community mobilization; conflict resolution; counselling and social work; leadership and youth development; skills training; parent training; and social emotional learning.
The main goals of the Changing Direction in Support of Aboriginal Youth program are to:
- Assist young people who carry risk factors that may cause disruptive behaviour and criminal activity;
- Prevent youth from becoming involved in street gangs and organized criminal activity; and
- Redirect youth already involved in crime and gangs away from further involvement and entrenchment in the gang lifestyle.
The appropriate clientele for the Changing Direction in Support of Aboriginal Youth program are youth (and their families) between the ages of 12 and 18 years old who are at risk of gang involvement.
Participants are referred to the Changing Direction in Support of Aboriginal Youth program by schools or members from the RCMP.
To participate in the program, youth must reside in Nanaimo or Williams Lake, British Columbia.
The Changing Direction in Support of Aboriginal Youth program consists of:
- Care coordination: In each of the communities, two care coordinators will work with youth at risk of gang involvement and their families to develop and implement comprehensive care plans. These plans will identify participants’ strengths and needs, specific goals, and action plans;
- Child and family services: In conjunction with the care coordinators, service providers will work with youth at risk of gang involvement to ensure that their needs across all domains (i.e., individual, family, peer, school, and community) are addressed in a culturally competent manner; and
- Crisis intervention: The Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of British Columbia (NCCABC) will work with the community-based inter-organization team to develop crisis intervention protocols. The protocols will detail how crisis situations (e.g., family conflict, peer conflict, escalation of problematic behaviour) among participants and their families will be addressed.
Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:
- Organizational requirements: The lead organization must have solid skills in outreach, intake and assessment, case planning, and program delivery.
- Partnerships: The success of the Changing Direction in Support of Aboriginal Youth program depends on its partnerships with the RCMP, the Board of Education for School District 68 (Nanaimo), the Board of Education for School District 27 (Williams Lake), and other community-based organizations.
- Training and technical assistance: Staff must be trained in the Wraparound approach.
- Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
- Materials & resources: Limited information on this topic.
The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:
- Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
- Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
- SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
- Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.
Gathering Canadian Knowledge
Canadian Implementation Sites
Public Safety Canada’s National Crime Prevention Strategy provided funding to implement the Changing Direction in Support of Aboriginal Youth program in Nanaimo and Williams Lake, (British Columbia) between 2013 and 2019. The Changing Direction in Support of Aboriginal Youth program is being implemented by the Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of British Columbia (NCCABC).
Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies
As part of Public Safety Canada’s funding, an outcome evaluation study of Changing Direction in Support of Aboriginal Youth was completed by Reciprocal Consulting. A strengths-based participatory approach and mixed-methods design was used to evaluate the program.
Results from this evaluation showed the following:
- Participants in the program had an average 4.73-point decrease in risk scores on the Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (YLS/CMI) 2.0 risk assessment tool. In particular, successful decreases in risk were found in the criminogenic areas of school, spare time, attitudes, behaviours, family, and addictions.
- Care team members also credited the program with helping youth improve their education and employment outcomes. After completing the program, youth became refocused on school, attending classes regularly and began achieving higher grades. Through the program, youth have also been connected to employment programs and alternative education programs for employment in the trades.
For more information, refer to Reciprocal Consulting’s (2018) publication.
In 2019, as part of Reciprocal Consulting’s outcome evaluation study, it was found that the average cost per participant in the Changing Direction in Support of Aboriginal Youth program ranged from $20,378 (CAD) based on referrals to $39,075 (CAD) for participants who completed the program.
Reciprocal Consulting (2018). NCCABC – Changing Direction in Support of Aboriginal Youth. Final Evaluation Report. Submitted to Public Safety Canada. (Unpublished report).
For more information on this program, contact:
Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of British Columbia
207 – 1999 Marine Drive
North Vancouver, British Columbia V7P 3J3
Telephone: (604) 985-5355
Record Updated On - 2021-04-29
For more information on Wraparound, refer to the program descriptive sheet.
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