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Supporting Youth Living With & Affected By HIV in Ontario

January 31, 2019

This report is designed for practitioners working with young people living with and affected by HIV in Ontario. As resource navigators and connectors to services and programs, youth workers play an important role in the wellbeing of youth. They are uniquely positioned to support young people living with and affected by HIV and break down stigma. This report offers youth workers recommendations for best practices at the individual, interpersonal, organizational, and community levels.The report is organized into three main sections. The first sets the context, highlighting the demographics of youth living with HIV in Canada (specifically in Ontario) and the intersecting factors that contribute to the vulnerability of youth living with and affected by HIV, through a social determinants of health lens. The next section details frameworks, evidence-based interventions, and program features that support youth living with and affected by HIV. The final section outlines recommendations for best practices and strategies that can be adopted by youth workers and youth-serving organizations.

Doing Right Together For Black Youth: What We Learned From The Community Engagement Sessions For The Ontario Black Youth Action Plan

January 1, 2018

Doing Right Together for Black Youth summarizes what was learned from over 1,500 community members who answered the call from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) to co-develop the Ontario Black Youth Action Plan (BYAP). The MCYS shared anonymized data (without any identifying personal information) captured at these community engagement sessions, as well as written submissions, with YouthREX to analyze, interpret, and summarize.This report shares the top ten issues for Black youth and their families, ideas on the best ways to engage Black youth in meaningfully shaping the development and implementation of the BYAP projects, as well as the important characteristics of organizations that can meet the needs of Black youth. 

Supporting Positive Outcomes For Youth Involved With The Law

March 23, 2017

This report reviews literature that helps us understand how to better support positive outcomes for youth involved with the law. The report is meant to serve as a resource and guide for evidence-based practice for programs that work with youth. The report explores the impact of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA), the legal statute that governs youth justice programs and systems in Canada. The YCJA's emphasis on using extrajudicial measures to divert first-time or less serious and non-violent offenders away from the criminal justice system has successfully shifted the focus of the youth justice system from being more punitive to being more rehabilitative. Nonetheless, the YCJA is only regarded as a "qualified success" because the incarceration rate of Indigenous youth has not decreased, and there have been unintended adverse impacts on youth from racialized groups. This report explores the outcomes of this legislation, reviews "what works" from the literature, and provides recommendations and evidence-based guidelines and principles for practitioners and program developers to support positive outcomes for youth involved with the law.

Game On: Sport Participation As A Vehicle For Positive Development For Youth Facing Barriers

January 17, 2017

Sport is the most popular extra-curricular activity for youth across Canada and has been identified as an important environment to foster psychosocial development in youth. It is particularly important for youth who face multiple barriers and vulnerabilities, as identified in Stepping Up: A Strategic Framework to Help Ontario's Youth Succeed by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services. This Research to Practice report summarizes the current state of research on youth development within community-based sport and/or physical activity programs for youth, both theoretically and empirically. Moreover, we identify strategies and best practices for fostering youth development within community-based sport and/or physical activity contexts. Finally, we provide recommendations for community-based youth sport programmers to incorporate positive youth development (PYD) frameworks, approaches, and strategies into their programs. This report provides information for youth sport programmers and practitioners, particularly those working with youth facing barriers, on how to deepen the impact of sport programs by intentionally structuring these programs to support psychosocial development. 

Growing The Grassroots: Strategies For Building The Organizational Capacity Of Youth-Led Organizations And Initiatives

December 7, 2016

The long-term viability of youth-led organizations and initiatives necessitates investment in organizational capacity-building work. By building organizational capacity, grassroots youth-led organizations and initiatives will improve their chances of sustainability by increasing their ability to respond to external and internal needs and demands; connecting grassroots youth-led organizations and initiatives with organizational capacity-building opportunities is essential for strengthening the sector.The purpose of this report is to review, examine, and assess current organizational capacity-building frameworks, present relevant case studies, and offer practical suggestions for building the organizational capacity of grassroots youth-led organizations and initiatives. Due to a lack of literature specific to building the capacity of grassroots youth organizations and initiatives, this report expanded the scope to focus on a general non-profit context. The report presents definitions of organizational capacity-building and models for assessing organizational capacity, and identifies strategies for building organizational capacity. The report concludes by synthesizing the findings and offering recommentations for building the organizational capacity of youth-led organizations and initiatives.

Collaborative Designing for Youth Wellbeing: The Story of Our Design Day

October 29, 2016

The Design Day brought together youth sector stakeholders – youth, youth workers, policy makers, researchers, funders and citizens – to collaboratively tackle four 'thorny' challenges, or Idea Labs, that youth and youth workers experience. This event was hosted in collaboration with the Youth Opportunities Fund at the Ontario Trillium Foundation. This report is a snapshot of this Design Day and includes the four Idea Lab challenges that the Design Day focused on, and the eight prototype pitches that participants co-developed in response to these challenges. The report includes reflections on the collaborative process along with resources and case study examples that can inspire our youth work.Idea Labs: 1) Bringing Our Whole Selves: Inclusive Programs With And For Racialized LGBTTQQ2SIA Youth; 2) Indigenizing Youth Work: Towards A New Relationship; 3) Far And Farther: Equitable Access To Programs, Services, And Opportunities For Youth Living In Rural And Remote Communities; 4) Beyond The Individual: Community / Collective Approaches To Youth Worker Wellbeing

Bridging Programs: Pathways To Equity In Post-Secondary Education

September 27, 2016

The purpose of this report is to review the evidence related to how well existing post-secondary education (PSE) bridging programs support and enable underrepresented youth to access, persist, and complete a PSE program. To close the PSE opportunity gap and "move the dial" on PSE access and completion equity, our report is intended to serve as an evidence-based resource for youth-serving organizations and individuals interested in developing and/or evaluating bridging programs. This report provides a point-in-time summary of the evidence-base related to PSE bridging programs.  As this field of research evolves, so will the data. As such, this report presents a snapshot of both the academic and grey literature, highlighting promising practices that are evidence-based and that, as a result, provide an important starting point for those interested in program development and/or evaluation.This paper seeks to: Review and assess the most effective bridging strategies and/or programs for engaging underrepresented youth in PSE;Present evaluated strategies for engaging young people in bridging opportunities and for keeping them engaged and supported after transitioning to PSE; and,Reflect on the challenges in the delivery of bridging programs and examine case studies of programs that have achieved significant success.

Trans Youth And The Right To Access Public Washrooms: A Critical Perspective On A Social Policy

August 24, 2016

This Research-to-Practice report defines, explores, and analyzes some of the challenges, fears, anxieties, and issues trans-identified youth experience, particularly with respect to safe access to public washrooms. The report places current debates about the rights of trans youth, which have become increasingly public, in context by engaging recent research and social policy. Specifically, the report presents a focused look at how the issue of safe access to public washrooms affects trans youth in Canada. It explores the potential benefits and drawbacks of Canada's now failed Bill C-279, the so-called Bathroom Bill, and provides a critical perspective on the issues it raises for trans youth. The report examines the implications of opposition to trans youth's rights to safe public washroom use, and argues instead for the importance of upholding the basic human right of trans-identified individuals to enjoy the freedom to safely access the public washroom of their choosing. The report concludes with recommendations for youth programs and services to ensure that they are inclusive and accessible for trans youth.

Changing Leaders, Leading Change: A Leadership Development Model for Marginalized Youth in Urban Communities

March 1, 2016

This report identifies and responds to the demographic urgency for supporting long-term approaches that enable urban youth in marginalized communities to reach their full potential. With particular attention given to addressing the structural effects of marginalization through youth leadership development initiatives, the report surveys current theories and evidence on youth leadership development, which it draws on in order to determine key elements of an urban youth leadership development model. It suggests approaches to evaluating the outcomes and impacts of such a model, and identifies critical knowledge gaps where more research is needed.

Beyond Measure? The State of Evaluation and Action in Ontario's Youth Sector

January 1, 2016

Program evaluation has the potential to inform and improve youth work practice, as well as help youth sector organizations and initiatives to better understand the impact of their work. This report presents findings from the first province-wide study of the Ontario youth sector's experiences conducting evaluations of their programs and services.This multi-focal study, led by Ontario's Youth Research & Evaluation eXchange (YouthREX), used a Community Dialogue Approach. Grounded in an extensive literature review and drawing on survey and interview data, the report puts forward ten key recommendations for three youth sector stakeholder groups: funders, evaluation capacity builders, and youth sector organizations.The study's contextualized examination of the youth sector's evaluation strengths informs YouthREX's service delivery strategy, and contributes to critical conversations around evaluation-related challenges and opportunities in the youth sector context.