Youth Services Bureau
Board of Directors
When YSB opened in 1960, the team consisted of two social workers. Today, 60 years later, we’re a strong and effective team of 330. The times may change, the issues that youth face evolve, but the core of our work, the wellbeing of our clients, remains the same. We work for youth. No matter if it’s helping a young person secure their first job or working with a young offender to reintegrate into the community, we put the client at the centre of everything we do.
We have dealt with every manner of situation, crisis, and personality over six decades, and still, 2020 brought something new: a global pandemic. As March slowly evolved, it brought a change in every aspect of our lives. As the scope of the pandemic unfolded, we were inspired by the team’s immediate shift into response mode. This is what we do: deal with challenging, life-changing issues.
MEETING THE NEEDS OF YOUTH IN A CRISIS
YSB’s Emergency Management Team quickly developed pandemic guidelines and protocols and embarked on a vital hunt: sourcing personal protective equipment. YSB staff know how to manage a crisis, even a historical one: they adjusted, pivoted new ways of working, and new ways of providing services, ensuring that we continued to meet the needs of youth. Thank you to all the staff who worked to ensure we not only survived but thrived.
We celebrate our history, but we recognize we need to continue our work to eradicate racism and practice anti-oppressive behaviour. Our clients must see themselves in our work – we continue to make sure that youth from every race and background can access our services in a way that’s free of bias or denigration. We will continue to seek out the voices of youth as they guide us in how to serve them better.
We honour all the staff, partners, board members, families, and youth who have been part of YSB for the last six decades, whose tireless efforts have put countless young lives on a new path to success and stability. What worked over the last 60 years, a combination of expertise and empathy, still works today. May we all continue to put the client at the core, to walk alongside youth as they gather up the supports they need to achieve a healthy and happy life.
Opened Canada’s very first longterm apartment
for LGBTQ2S youth
Opened our Youth Housing Hub on Riverside Drive; homeless youth quickly moved into the 39 units.
YSB joined the Ontario Health Team, working with more than 60 partners on rethinking the delivery of mental health and addiction services to youth and children.
There was a lot wrapped up in the year for our mental health team including transformation, transition and adaptation, especially during the last month of the fiscal year when COVIID 19 started to impact service delivery. We could not be prouder of our team for embracing change and going above and beyond for youth.
While the make-up of our mental health team had remained virtually unchanged for a number of years, retirements meant we said farewell to some valued team members while welcoming new faces and new opportunities.
Throughout it all, our team worked extremely hard and focused on clients’ needs. We did this in part by following our Choice and Partnership Approach (CAPA) that focusses on collaboration, choice and ensuring that our youth get the help that’s right for them in the fastest time possible.
Youth played an active role in improving our services through Feedback Informed Treatment (FIT), an process by which feedback is provided after each session, providing live data and the ability to adjust treatment quickly. It’s one of the ways we give youth a voice in their treatment.
Our crisis team was there for youth and families helping them through challenging and difficult times. Day in and day out throughout the year, they are to be commended for their and ability to be nimble when literally every second matters. Every call, chat and visit could be a moment when a life is on the line.
Our community-based service, Bridges, was highlighted by the Ontario Health Teams as only one of two programs in the province viewed as a model for service delivery. Special thanks to our Bridges partners, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa Public Health and Royal Ottawa Health Care Group.
Education took place throughout the year to enhance skills, and encourage team members who embrace opportunities for learning. We plan to make continuous learning an ongoing focus.
Bridges / 74 clients
Choice / 207 clients
Crisis / 1,055 clients
Residential Crisis Unit / 101 clients
(temporarily closed Oct. 2019-present)
School-based programs / 67 clients
Section 23 / 14 clients
Youth Mental Health Walk-in Clinic / 720 clients
Youth & Family Counseling
Core / 455 clients
Youth & Family Counseling Intensive
Family Services / 46 clients
Youth & Family Counseling Wraparound / 21 clients
CRISIS CALLS & CHATS5,545 Client Calls 821 Client Chats
COMMON ISSUES36% Parent Youth Conflict 25% Mental Health
“WE EMBRACED CHANGE AND MADE SURE THAT YOUTH ALWAYS HAD A VOICE AND SAY IN THE SERVICES WE OFFER.”
Last year, like so many others, was a busy year for working with youth and families in a range of vital services that provide food, shelter, safety, health and, in many cases, a sense of belonging.
Community Services welcomed a new director, Darren Graham, who brought significant experience in addressing homelessness. Darren started his new position mere weeks before the pandemic was declared, so he had to hit the ground running, working with his team to ensure continuity of services.
Our new supportive Youth Housing Hub on Riverside Drive opened in November 2019. It includes 39 new supportive housing units for formerly homeless youth and a youth services hub on the ground floor. Current YSB shelter users immediately started moving into their new homes. Our focus on addressing youth homelessness included a lead role in A Way Home Ottawa, a coalition of youth-serving organizations and youth peers, convened by the Ottawa Alliance to End Homelessness.
We focused on youth engagement and education on several fronts. The West End Youth Motivators hosted their 4th Annual Balling for Our Brothers Basketball Tournament. Basketball and fitness have always been vital in bringing youth and the community together. Our Purple Sisters Youth Advisory were honoured with the first-ever Paul Dewar Memorial Award for Youth Action at Youth Action Now’s event.
Their work in the community includes workshops, outreach, and organizing the very successful SlutWalk. Our Ethnocultural Youth Advisory Committee hosted an event celebrating Black History Month: Still, I rise. They held a very successful afternoon of comedy and storytelling about Laughter’s mental health as the Best Medicine. They also teamed with the AIDS Committee of Ottawa for workshops about sexual wellness for African, Caribbean, and Black youth.
Spectrum LGBTQ Community Youth Group held various special events, including Make Makeup Genderless, a fantastic opportunity for LGBTQ2S+ youth to explore and learn about makeup in a safe and positive environment. They also hosted events for Pride week, including a workshop, activities, a BBQ, and a coffee house with local performers, and partnered with Wabano for a seminar on anti-human trafficking.
“OUR GOALS GO BEYOND FINDING YOUTH PLACES TO LIVE. WE WANT TO GIVE THEM PLACES TO BE HEARD.”
Last year was a rapid time change in our employment services area. Some were teamrelated while others were in our broader community. After 33 years with YSB, Dan Sabourin, Director of Employment Services, retired. Looking back on working with generations of youth, Dan said, “I say goodbye with a smile and an appreciation for all the work and supports needed to make someone’s life a little better and safer.” In early 2020, we were thrilled to welcome our new Director of Employment Services, Amber Costello. Amber was just one of the number of new faces to join the team.
Transformation in youth employment services has been and will continue to be a central focus, not just for YSB but also for our community partners in Ottawa and across Ontario. These system-wide, transformational changes are meant to ensure that a broad range of employment services are available when they are needed the most. It’s not just about finding jobs for youth; it’s about reducing barriers to youth employment.
Even with the many changes happening, including a global pandemic in the last month of the fiscal year, our youth employment services team never wavered in its cient-centric approach to meeting the diverse needs of youth.
During the year, over 2,300 applications for employment assistance required a wide range of client supports from clothing and training to transportation, technology and housing. Over 500 local employers, including a number of new partners provided not just employment but important stepping stones to more stable, fulfilling and independent lives for youth and families.
Through the Canada Ontario Job Grant, close to $800,000 in services was provided to local employers for training and educating existing staff in order to enhance skills and strengthen businesses in our community.
Looking ahead, our youth employment team is focussed on two key areas that will strengthen YSB and better serve clients. First is growing a broader partnership network as well as strategic community relationships. This work, including participating in a number of new committees is being done to increase YSB’s footprint and capacity to provide support to persons with disabilities and disadvantages in finding employment.
Expanding and diversifying funding sources for YSB employment services is the second key area of focus for the team.
Until recently funding has been solely from the Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development. These efforts to broaden funding have already generated federal support from Employment and Social Development Canada in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association. By diversifying funding, YSB will be able to provide enhanced employment services to a broader spectrum of youth. These holistic services will give our team a bigger toolkit to work with, reduce existing barriers and help support more youth along their journey to employment.
“OUR CLIENTS CONTINUE TO MOTIVATE US TO DO MORE BECAUSE OF THEIR STRENGTH, PERSISTENCE AND RESILIENCE IN OVERCOMING BARRIERS TO EMPLOYMENT.”
In the past year and as YSB marks its 60th anniversary, there were youth justice stories that inspired us. A young man facing multiple charges who went from being angry, homeless and experiencing depression to learning a trade and buying his first home. Another, estranged from family and selling drugs who now lives with his mother, plans to attend college and become a certified electrician.
At the centre of these stories and our work is the youth with the strength and commitment to change the path they are on and achieve their goals. Taking that journey along with them are members of the Youth Justice team, families, a network of community partners and other teams at YSB.
Our team focuses on continuing education, employment, daily life skills programming and the development of independent living skills. YSB’s popular Tamarack Trades Training Centre continues
to help youth gain skills, acquire practical experience and secure employment while reintegrating into the community.
Our team also supports youth both during detention and in the community after their release. These comprehensive supports include guiding youth through Ottawa’s Youth Mental Health Court, providing youth and family counselling, anger management skills improvement, and supportive transition back into the community. Our team pours hours and hours into making sure that youth have the best chance for success upon their discharge. Those many hours are spent helping them find housing, income, education opportunities, employment, and social supports. Looking ahead, our team is committed to helping to end socioeconomic oppression that affects too many, ensuring the wellbeing of staff, and providing leadership that builds a system with fewer barriers for youth to climb over and gaps to fall through. We will ensure that all youth and families in our region get the right service at the right time.
“THIS PAST YEAR, LIKE THE YEARS BEFORE THERE WERE PLENTY OF STORIES OF YOUTH WHO CHOSE A NEW PATH AND INSPIRED US ALL.”
Executive Director of
the YSB Foundation
Chair of the YSB
Foundation Board of Directors
Our YSB Foundation Board of Directors and staff team are so pleased with the accomplishments of this past year and honoured to fundraise and support an organization that is helping to make positive, lasting impacts on the lives of youth and families in our community.
Thanks to generous corporate partners, foundations, community groups and individual donors, the YSB Foundation raised $1.9 million– effectively doubling what was raised the previous year.
SUPPORT FOR HOMELESS YOUTH
Our capital campaign continued in support of YSB’s new Youth Housing Hub, which opened in November and welcomed 39 once-homeless youth to brand new, stable, and safe housing and support.
Our signature event, YSB’s SleepOUT for Youth, raised $190,000 for our youth shelters and housing programs. Caring partners including the Home Depot Canada Foundation, The BRICK and Britton Smith Foundation demonstrated their core values through investments that helped us further serve homeless youth.
YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH
The YSB Foundation raised vital funds for our youth mental health programs, made possible by generous contributions from valued partners including the Malhotra Family Foundation, the RBC Foundation, our partnership with the Ottawa Senators Foundation, Bell Let’s Talk and the Danbe Foundation, as well as the Adobe Foundation, Darkness Into Light Ottawa and several anonymous corporate and family foundation donors.
We continued our partnership with the Ottawa Community Foundation with their investment in a neighbourhood youth leadership program, and began a new collaboration with Toto Too Theatre with their support of LGBTQ2S+ youth.
Our YSB Foundation Youth Cabinet, a group of ambitious young leaders from local high schools, also worked throughout the school year raising awareness and funds for youth mental health.
Together, our Foundation Board and team members are proud to partner with our community in support of youth accessing YSB’s programs and services.
Summary of Program Revenue and Expenditures
For the 12 months ended March 31, 2020
Ministry of Children, Community & Social Services$ 10,318,631
Ministry of Labour Training and Skills Development$ 6,260,278
Ministry of Health$ 6,714,886
City of Ottawa$ 3,764,131
United Way East Ontario$ 168,916
Salaries and Benefits$ 19,167,668
Client Services$ 3,650,741
Professional Services$ 1,232,648
Building Occupancy$ 2,555,843
Travel and Communications$ 351,096
Summary of Program Revenue and Expenditures
For the 12 months ended March 31, 2020
* includes $751,389 for Capital Campaign