Cross-Over Youth Project: Navigating Quicksand


Cross-Over Youth Project: Navigating Quicksand

4 years ago 4 years ago Published by
This report was published by the Cross-Over Youth Project.


The Cross-Over Youth Project provincially evolved over a period of a decade through many conversations among service professionals in courthouses, in classrooms, at agency meetings, at conferences, in boardrooms, during informal gatherings, or across tables. Everyone clearly understood the devastating outcomes for youth in care who became involved in the criminal justice system. The systems within which they worked, however, seemed too complex and intransigent, which made solutions difficult to discover. When we called together colleagues in the four different sites across the province, both from the youth justice and the children’s service sectors, the response was inspiring. Everyone came to the table ready to focus on solutions. There were 10 service sectors represented at each table and at no time did there appear to be divisions, tensions, or disagreement. Steering Committees were formed at each of the Toronto, Belleville, Thunder Bay, and Brantford sites and at that point there was steady and uniform commitment to think “outside of the box” in order to create new fundamental change through innovation on behalf of these youth. There was dedication and courage to take risks within and across multiple sectors. Literally hundreds of stakeholders, young people, and their networks were engaged in the Cross-Over Youth Pilot Project across the province, and it was through their commitment to collaboration that community-based solutions emerged. There was a team of staff, guided by the Steering Committees at each site and provincially, which worked tirelessly and with passion to seek out resolutions at the case and the policy levels.

This report, Navigating Quicksand, represents a compilation of all the information, activities, discussions, and thoughtful analysis gathered from each of the sites. The conclusions in the report are drawn not only from the 50 youth the Project engaged in intensive casework with, but also from four years of complex, interdisciplinary systemic work. The Project undertook a variety of mechanisms to dig deep into the systemic structures that impact the trajectory of cross-over youth. The steering committee meetings, subcommittees, professional development events, one on one interviews, youth advisory meetings, youth workshops, case consultations, attending and organizing community events, and interactions with decision makers all informed the observations, analysis, and considerations contained in this report.

Download the appendices to the report.

Finlay, J., Scully, B., Eaton-Kent, M., Farrell, T-R., Dicks, P., & Salerno, J. (2019). Cross-Over Youth Project: Navigating Quicksand. Toronto, ON: Cross-Over Youth Project.

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