What is the system challenge?

Transitioning to adulthood can be hard for any youth, especially those facing important decisions about their education, career, family, and living situation. During this difficult time, youth with mental health and/or addiction challenges often have difficulty finding the right services and supports to help them successfully transition to adulthood and independence.

Many youth could benefit from receiving support to pursue their goals. This presents an important challenge to the system—how best to assist youth to become more independent and be confident in their ability to care for themselves as they transition into adulthood.

What are we doing about it?

With the support of the Provincial System Support Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Hamilton Service Collaborative identified a need for improved supports for transition age youth (TAY) and young adults in the community. To address this goal, the Collaborative selected and implemented the Transition to Independence Process (TIP) Model.

TIP is an evidence-informed model of care designed to support the needs of TAY and young adults with mental health and addiction issues as they move into adulthood and the potential use of adult services.
TIP gives service providers tools to help their clients prepare for greater self-sufficiency. It assists TAY and young adults to set and achieve goals that guide them towards their desired future. These goals can be related to school, work, housing, relationships, personal well-being and community life.

Agencies across Hamilton worked together to implement TIP, building essential knowledge and skills and supporting a more consistent approach to service for TAY. This program created sustainable change through a “train-the-trainer” approach.

?What's this?

Full Implementation

The CIT has worked to sustain and expand TIP in Hamilton, with two community-based trainers serving as co-chairs of the CIT and as TIP leads. To support the sustainability of the intervention, community-based TIP trainers are re-certified twice annually and new trainers are being certified to fill vacancies and scale up into new agencies. TIP training is continuing for staff at new and existing TIP-implementing agencies.

How do we know it works?


staff from service providers in Hamilton have been trained over eight training sessions


of those trained in the TIP Model have incorporated it into their practice


youth in the region have received TIP-related services since 2013

It gives control back to the client or young person. They build confidence and have better self-esteem. They are able to think for themselves and produce better outcomes as they are thinking outside the box.

— evaluation respondent

I like the combination of a program that is based in strong evidence, with a clear direction and easy to use tools with the invitation to run with the ideas and have them fit to our own clients.

— evaluation respondent

of trained staff found the practices easy to implement

Who is involved?

The Hamilton Service Collaborative had approximately 35 members representing a broad range of organizations that serve youth in Hamilton, including representatives from:

  • education;
  • criminal justice;
  • primary care;
  • social services;
  • child welfare; and
  • addiction and mental health services.

Since the Service Collaborative implemented TIP in Hamilton, 14 agencies have used the TIP Model to serve and support TAY. A further four agencies are preparing to implement TIP. Community-based trainers in Hamilton are helping to sustain the TIP implementation by continuing to offer independent training to agencies and service providers.

Next steps

The CIT meets regularly to guide the sustainability and scale up of TIP in the city. Currently this group is focusing more on engaging and training adult service providers to assist TAY transition from youth to adult services.

In addition to offering training sessions to build TIP knowledge and skills among more service providers, the TIP leads in Hamilton offer coaching sessions to agencies implementing the TIP Model.

As a result of the Hamilton Service Collaborative’s successful implementation of TIP, this model was highlighted in the Concurrent Disorders Graduate Certificate at Mohawk College. More specifically, information about working with TAY in Hamilton using the TIP model has been included in the Graduate Certificate curriculum.


For more information, please contact

Alan Cudmore, Regional Implementation Coordinator