Word on the street: Mark

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Author: 
Chrystal, Speak-Out Youth
Source: 
Speak-Out Youth Newsletter

Interview with a youth service provider.

Who are you?

  • Mark
  • Case manager for youth in custody
  • Working in the field for 25 years

What do you do?

  • Meet with youth
  • Individual case management meetings (with youth's support team)
  • Connect with outside support
  • Make sure youth have a home and support upon leaving custody
  • Help youth reach their personal goals

What are some barriers in working with the youth?

  • Home and community circumstances are so unstable
  • The age for youth aging out of the justice system is 18 where it's 19 in the adult world, causing a gap in services
  • Lack of community support

What are some commonalities between the youth?

  • High degree of life dysfunction
  • Single family hones
  • History of sexual abuse
  • Volatile homes (parents have issues as well)

What are some success?

  • Some youth graduate in custody
  • Some grow and build an identity for themselves outside of crime
  • Some youth go on to college after
  • Youth voice on transitions is developed

Other tidbits

  • Between 40-50% of youth in custody are in care
  • Ages of youth in custody are between 12-18, average 16-17
  • FASD and ADHD are common mental health issues for these youth
  • There is a lot of help for these youth including a mental health team, drug and alcohol counsellor, psychologist, psychiatrist, forensic department, and violent offender treatment program (structured!)

What advice would you give at risk youth?

Never trust anyone who says they can help you financially (e.g., drug dealers, gangs, pimps) - they are predators and it's about them getting rich. Don't get involved, it's easy to fall prey when you're young.