The Way In: A Program to Engage Aboriginal Youth and their Families

Program snapshot

Age group: Adolescence (12-17)

Gender: Mixed (male and female)

Population served: Aboriginal/Indigenous; Families; Placed out-of-home; Youth in contact with law enforcement (and/or at risk)

Topic: Academic issues; Aggressive/violent behaviours; Alcohol and/or drug use; Antisocial/deviant behaviours

Setting: Urban area; Community-based setting; School-based

Location: Alberta

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 0

Continuum of intervention: Secondary crime prevention

Brief Description

The Way In was designed to be a wrap-around service delivery project that is based on a series of promotional, prevention, and intervention activities. The Aboriginal Commitment Coach (ACC) position aimed to address the unique needs of First Nations, Metis and Inuit (FNMI) students attending Dan Knott, Edith Rogers, and T.D. Baker schools in the community of Mill Woods, Edmonton, Alberta. 

The Way In team worked collaboratively with the Aboriginal Commitment Coach to provide opportunities to build resiliency in FNMI youth attending the three schools. The project provides on-site services for students and their families, and connects students to services that are not available in the community. The Aboriginal Commitment Coach position offered a unique experience in building hope through prevention and addressing the disconnect felt by Aboriginal youth and families.

Goals

The main goals of The Way In program are:

For Youth:

  • Reducing high-risk and criminalizing behaviours;
  • Enhancing resiliency capacity;
  • Building assets and integration between the youth, their traditional community, and their urban community;
  • Improving school performance and fulfilling graduation requirements;
  • Identifying long-term goals;
  • Building empathy and community engagement; and
  • Enabling youth to pursue identified recreational and cultural passions by removing socio-economic barriers.

 For Families:

  • Connecting families to their community school;
  • Connecting families to each other in their community; and
  • Providing opportunities for families to participate together in activities.

Clientele

The appropriate clientele for The Way In program is Aboriginal youth (and their families) between the ages of 11 and 15 who have a poor academic record, poor school attendance, past involvement with child and family services, and early involvement with the justice system. Alcohol and drug use may also be common among some of the youth.

Core Components

The main activities of the Way In program includes:

  • Building relationships with FNMI students and their families;
  • Helping FNMI people to build self-esteem (through targeted programs, individual supports);
  • Building mentoring relationships to enhance academic/homework support;
  • Supporting FNMI students as they identify personal passions that could lead to future careers and provide concrete opportunities for students to explore these options
  • Supporting FNMI students as they develop a sense of their heritage through service learning opportunities;
  • Assisting FNMI students in grade nine to transition to high school;
  • Assisting FNMI students entering grade seven to transition to junior high school
  • Connecting young FNMI students with adult mentors;
  • Assisting FNMI students as they avail themselves of opportunities to connect to community activities;
  • Connecting families of FNMI students to their community school; and
  • Connecting families of FNMI students to each other, thereby building a community of support that will help them as they enter into the next phase of schooling.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: Limited information on this topic.
  • Partnerships: The Way In team worked collaboratively with the Aboriginal Commitment Coach to provide opportunities to build resiliency in FNMI youth attending the three schools. The project provides on-site services for students and their families, and connects students to services that are not available in the community. The Aboriginal Commitment Coach position offered a unique experience in building hope through prevention and addressing the disconnect felt by Aboriginal youth and families.
  • Training and technical assistance: Limited information on this topic.
  • Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
  • Materials & resources: Limited information on this topic.

International Endorsements

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

The Way In program has been implemented in Edmonton (Alberta) by the Edmonton Public Schools. The Way In program was a recipient of the Safe Communities Innovation Fund (SCIF), Government of Alberta. The specific date in which this program was implemented is unknown.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

No information available.

Cost Information

A social return on investment (SROI) has been conducted on The Way In program. The findings from this study have shown the following:

  • After three years of implementation, for every dollar invested in the program, a return of $4.58 (CAD) on average in social value was created.

For more information, refer to the Alberta Community Crime Prevention Organizations’ (2015) publication.

References

Alberta Community Crime Prevention Organizations. (2015). Social Return on Investment (SROI) Case Study: The Way In. Recipient of Safe Communities Innovation Fund, Government of Alberta. Available from: https://open.alberta.ca/publications/safe-communities-innovation-fund-pilot-project-executive-summaries 

For more information on this program, contact:

Edmonton Public Schools
Jennifer Parenteau
Telephone: (780) 399-1771
E-mail: jennifer.parenteau@epsb.ca
Website: http://www.epsb.ca/


Record Entry Date - 2018-03-14

Date modified: