Life “In Care”: A Youth-Led Magazine


Life “In Care”: A Youth-Led Magazine

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


The Cross-Over Youth (COY) Project, a four-year pilot project, was initiated as a community-based response to bring about systemic changes in four unique communities in Ontario on behalf of cross-over youth.

The Project had sites in four locations: Toronto, Thunder Bay, Belleville, and Brantford. The Project spent time in each site helping to coordinate the community response to the needs of cross-over youth and helping to develop a local, sustainable model. The Project developed several best practice models based on its involvement in four very different communities. Each site was coordinated by a steering committee comprised of various community stakeholders from both child welfare and youth justice (Probation, Children’s Aid, Diversion Programs, Lawyers, Provincial Child Advocates, etc.), and each site had its own Youth Advisory Committee, which was facilitated by its own Youth Coordinator.

The youth-led committee consisted of a group of young people between the ages of 14-25 who had experiences in both child welfare and the youth justice system. The Youth Advisory Committee worked in conjunction with their Local COY Steering Committees to provide their input in how to best engage with young people within their communities and to develop best practices for both systems. The Youth Advisory Committee was an opportunity for young people to be heard and be a part of the continued efforts to centre the voices of young people in both sectors.

Youth centering is based on the foundation that young people are the experts of their own lives. They should drive the decisions that impact them. Professionals and service providers who are youth centred will help facilitate voice and meaningful participation. A youth-centred process incorporates safety, supportive resources, and capacity building to maximize the youth’s agency. A prerequisite to a youth-centred approach is an understanding of anti-oppressive and trauma-informed practice. Professional experience is valuable but must not overwhelm or undermine the voice of the youth. Each youth’s journey is unique with individualized ways of responding and coping.

Smith, L., Beattie, B., Keenan, K., & Bailey, T. (2019). Life “In Care”: A Youth-Led Magazine. Toronto, ON: Cross-Over Youth Project.

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