Integrated Youth Services
Advancing the Model Across NL
Mission and Vision
Choices for Youth (CFY) is leveraging its 30-year history of community-based work and initiatives to help grow a provincial network of Integrated Youth Services (IYS) hubs in regional centres across NL.
The NL-IYS model calls for re-envisioning our systems of care, moving toward a more integrated and youth-focused approach to service delivery, grounded in a shared belief that youth and young families have the right to access safe, effective, culturally appropriate supports when and where they want them, without barriers.
IYS is a growing movement in Canada, with every province and territory at some stage of the IYS development process. In November 2022, CFY and other community and government organizations from across Canada met in person for the first time to identify a set of common principles to support a pan-Canadian vision for IYS. This Federation of Integrated Youth Services Networks (FIYSN) continues to collaborate, with a focus on network governance, community development, data and evaluation, education, Indigenous support, and government relations.
IYS is a learning health model, that consistently analyzes and evaluates youth data and outcomes and then puts that research into practice in existing programming. CFY operates a flagship IYS site at Carter’s Hill Place that brings together mental health and addiction services, primary care, peer support, and other social services such as employment, education, and income and housing support into a single, easy-to-access location. The overall goal of NL-IYS is to develop a network of nine sites across NL, starting with the creation of four IYS sites in regional centres. Each site will provide low-barrier, culturally appropriate, integrated services for young people and their families in a “one-stop-shop” model.
Matt Piercey, Director of Newfoundland and Labrador Integrated Youth Services
“Scaling integrated youth services from urban to rural areas in Newfoundland and Labrador is vital for promoting equitable access to resources, enhancing the well-being of rural youth, and fostering the overall development and sustainability of rural communities. It's a crucial step toward creating a more balanced and inclusive province.”
CFY is working hand-in-hand with eight steering committees to grow an IYS network across NL. CFY provides a variety of backbone supports to these committees and is helping to foster communication, cooperation, and trust between regional agencies. Youth in different regions of our province share similar needs such as access to affordable housing, food security, and mental health services, however, each region has a different pool of resources available to meet those needs.
In December 2022, the Newfoundland and Labrador Youth Advisor Council (YAC) was formed to ensure that NL-IYS was being steered by young people by informing IYS services, design, and processes. The YAC began as a group of 12 individuals ages 12-29 from across the province, bringing together diverse voices and perspectives including youth, young parents, Indigenous peoples, and members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. YAC members are empowered to help move NL-IYS forward while building skills and availing of training opportunities.
In January 2023, CFY’s NL-IYS team completed a cross-island tour where they met with the steering committees for each region to identify the resources available in that region and how social organizations and service providers can collectively leverage these resources to ensure that youth in their region can access the services they need.
NL-IYS also has a Guidance Council comprised of various stakeholders – governments, non-profit organizations, healthcare providers and social services agencies – from across Canada. The Guidance Council provides a pan-Canadian perspective and is helping with the development of policy and guidelines for the NL-IYS network while also providing support with scaling, securing funding, and community engagement.