What is the system challenge?

Canada’s youth justice legislation (the Youth Criminal Justice Act) only applies to children and youth ages 12 to 17.

This means that there is:

  • no clear approach for responding to children under 12 who come in contact with police
  • no consistent approach for identifying the service needs of children and youth at their earliest contact with the justice system
  • considerable police resources (75 to 85 percent of calls for service) invested in responding to offenses for which charges cannot be laid and for which social service agencies need to be involved (Report by Russell & Taylor, 2014 - PDF)

What are we doing about it?

Intersections is an evidence-informed early intervention program that helps children and youth (age 8 to 17) access appropriate supports and services before they become involved in the justice system. The program involves:

  1. First Contact – Police respond to an incident where the child or youth meets inclusion criteria and sends a Referral Form to the Intersections Host
  2. Engagement and Screening – Intersections Worker meets with the child or youth and their family member or guardian to determine service pathways given their unique strengths and needs.
  3. Interventions and Pathways – Intersections Worker completes referral as per referral protocol with specified agency and stays connected during the referral until the file can be closed.

Intersections helps police redirect children, youth and their families so that they receive the right service, by the right provider, at the right time. This means that children and youth are able to receive supports for mental health, addictions, or developmental disabilities, as needed.

?What's this?

Full Implementation

Intersections was implemented by the Champlain Youth Justice Service Collaborative (CYJSC) with help from the Provincial System Support Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental health. Intersections is active in Lanark, Leeds and Grenville; Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry; and Renfrew County. Over 66 partners are actively implementing and providing Intersections supports.

How do we know it works?

The Intersections Worker listened to me and talked to my son. Yes, that was the biggest piece. And now we have help, and it is working. I could not be happier.

60%

of youth referred to Intersections have had no police contact within three months of their referral to Intersections.

263

children, youth, and families have been provided support as of May 2016

98%

of child and youth referrals received from police have been appropriate

Who is involved?

This Service Collaborative brought together 150 partners from diverse sectors across five regions, including community, justice, police, mental health and addictions, education, primary care, developmental, and child welfare, along with family members.

Next Steps

Check out how we are helping expand Intersections in the following places in Ontario.

Resources

For more information, please contact:

Gord Boyd, Co-Chair, Director of Youth Justice, Youth Service Bureau

Kathy Neff, Co-Chair, Executive Director, youturn / Executive Director, Robert Smart Centre