Family and Youth Supports

Brief Description

The Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers (EMCN) serves immigrants and refugees through settlement and integration services, English language training, and employment supports. Within EMCN’s Family and Youth Supports program, a team of social workers and therapists, in collaboration with cultural brokers, provides one-to-one, couple, family, and group support. The intent is to prevent and work through crisis, and enhance mental health and well-being. Supports include counselling, advocacy, cultural interpretation, education, and system navigation. The majority of the work involves families with complex circumstances.


The main goals of the EMCN Family and Youth Supports are to:

  • Strengthen the family and community fabric and thus strengthen the protective factors that sustain youth through their childhood and teenage years; and
  • Help newcomer parents to understand the Canadian reality their children and youth are in, so as to build bridges between the parents and the youth.

The overarching outcome developed by the team was that ‘individuals and families have strategies to access internal and external resources that promote healthy interdependence, stability and meaningful engagement with Canadian society. Systems have increased capacity to respond appropriately to individuals and families from diverse background.’


The appropriate clientele for the EMCN Family and Youth Supports are individuals and families who have been forcibly dislocated from their homes by war, oppression or poverty.

There are five major profiles for families with complex circumstances, and these profiles often overlap:

  • Families with a parent with significant mental or physical health issues that impact the entire family;
  • Immigrant and refugee adults experiencing domestic violence that places the adults and children at risk;
  • Immigrants and refugees who have experienced pre-migration trauma and are encountering serious difficulties integrating into life in Canada;
  • Immigrant and refugee youth at risk of street life; and
  • Immigrant and refugee families with child welfare involvement.

Core Components

The EMCN Family and Youth Supports involve:

Wrap-around services

  • Community casework support for families; and
  • Psychotherapeutic counseling for children, youth and adult newcomers.

Group programs

  • Group work with newcomer youth at risk of not completing high school and getting involved in illegal activities; and
  • Group work with newcomer parents to discuss parenting issues.

Implementation Information

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

  • Organizational requirements: Tailored responses/interventions are crucial to the project as programs are most effective when they are responsive to individual family needs rather than asking the family to conform to existing services.
  • Partnerships: Limited information on this topic.
  • 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 EMCN Family and Youth Supports program was implemented in Edmonton (Alberta) from 2010 to 2013. Funding was provided through the Safe Communities Innovation Fund (SCIF), Government of Alberta.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

No information available.

Cost Information

A social return on investment (SROI) has been conducted on EMCN Family and Youth Supports. The findings from this study have shown the following:

  • The SROI ratio calculated for the Family and Youth Supports program was 3.80:1, which indicates that over the course of three years, the overall social value of investment in the program was $3.80 for every dollar invested; and
  • Social value was created through avoiding health system costs (psychiatric admissions to hospital, emergency room visit); justice system costs (incarceration, police calls); and the cost of transitional housing, addictions counselling, foster care.


Alberta Community Crime Prevention Organizations. (2015). Social Return on Investment (SROI) Case Study: Family and Youth Supports. Recipient of Safe Communities Innovation Fund, Government of Alberta. Available from: 

For more information on this program, contact:

Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers
Erick Ambtman
Telephone: (780)424-7709

Record Entry Date - 2018-02-22
Record Updated On - 2021-04-29
Date modified: