Youth at risk

Enhancing Volunteer Recruitment and Retention

The study is exploring the motivations and constraints facing volunteer firefighters in an effort to support the development of an enhanced set of practices to improve the recruitment and retention of volunteers in rural communities. SRDC will augment existing outreach strategies and messaging to create better alignment with these underlying factors and will incorporate behavioural “nudges” to motivate action. The feasibility of the new model will then be tested through a small scale pilot.

Start-end date: January 2017 - December 2018
Sponsor: Canadian Safety and Security Program

Kid Food Nation

Canadian children are entering adulthood without sufficient knowledge to make healthy food choices. Moreover, rates of childhood obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes are increasing. In collaboration with SRDC and other partners, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada is designing and delivering a food skills and healthy eating curriculum for children aged 7-12 in select Clubs. This food literacy program will be supplemented by a national media campaign, and recipe competition and gala event for children. SRDC is evaluating the design and delivery of the initiative, as well as the extent to which food literacy and other outcomes have been achieved.

Start-end date: November 2016 - March 2021
Sponsor: Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

Development of a "How To" Guide for Integrated Mental Health and Substance Use Services for Youth and Young Adults

Only a small proportion of youth with mental health and substance use disorders actually receive treatment, in part because services designed for adults are neither accessible nor appropriate. This “How To” guide is intended to support the Provincial and Territorial Working Group and other policy makers in understanding how to create enabling environments for the development of integrated MHSU services for youth and young adults. To develop this guide, SRDC is collecting information via interviews and surveys on program exemplars in six different provinces, and work closely with the BC Ministry of Health MHSU Branch and members of the P/T WG members.

Start-end date: July 2016 - March 2017
Sponsor: British Columbia Ministry of Health

The Role of Employment Social Enterprises in Supporting Transitioning Youth

The BC Centre for Employment Excellence and its partner, the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria, are conducting a demonstration project to evaluate the role of Employment Social Enterprises (ESEs) in supporting the labour market transitions of youth facing barriers to developing their career potential. The project partners with local social entrepreneurs, employment service providers and employers to generate work placements in new or existing ESEs that focus on employing barriered youth, giving youth participants the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and skill development that is in line with local labour market opportunities. This project is designed to fill a gap in knowledge with regard to understanding the role that transitional placements in ESEs can play in improving employment outcomes for at-risk youth.

Start-end date: February 2016 - January 2019
Sponsor: British Columbia Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

BGCC National Youth Outcomes Consultation

As part of a longstanding commitment to quality programming and continuous improvement, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada developed its Model for Success framework to describe the common features of Boys and Girls Clubs’ environments, the core programming they offer, and the desired positive outcomes for children and youth that drive these efforts. To further this work, SRDC was engaged to help BGCC develop a plan for evaluating program outcomes at a national level. This project includes background research, interviews, feasibility assessment, and development of options and recommendations.

Start-end date: December 2015 - April 2016
Sponsor: Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

Women Gaining Ground Research Study

SRDC was engaged by the United Way of Greater Toronto to inform the further development of their Career Navigator program to better meet the needs of young women facing multiple barriers to employment, by gaining a deeper understanding of the challenges and service/support needs of this group. The study includes a systematic literature and evidence review, and interviews and focus groups to identify and understand: the main barriers (environmental/external and personal) that young women facing multiple barriers are experiencing while transitioning into the labour market; evidence-informed and promising approaches for serving young women with multiple barriers; how the current Career Navigator program is addressing barriers and where there might be gaps; and how adjustments to program design/delivery can be implemented in a way that works for both jobseekers and employers.

Start-end date: September 2015 - January 2016
Sponsor: United Way of Greater Toronto

Measuring Resilience as an Education Outcome

SRDC is investigating the most appropriate means for Ontario postsecondary institutions to assess the impacts of their programs on student resilience. In addition to an extensive literature review, the study assesses how well one of the most promising existing measures of resilience (the Brief Resilience Scale) predicts student coping behaviours over a three-year period post-measurement. The project report includes the combined results and recommendations for next steps based on lessons learned from the literature and from implementing resilience measures in the field.

Start-end date: May 2015 - April 2016
Sponsor: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

Demonstrating an enriched Kocihta eMentoring Program Model – A Design/Development Phase

The first phase of a project to tackle one of Canada’s major policy problems: too few Indigenous youth achieving successful transition into the labour market. SRDC is working with Kocihta - a national Indigenous charity founded in 2013 by the Aboriginal Human Resource Council - to develop and test an innovative program model. The model bridges career education to eMentoring with the intent to encourage Indigenous youths to identify and pursue their desired career paths, thereby enhancing their educational investments and improving their labour market outcomes. This phase of the project involves designing an enriched eMentoring program model and developing a comprehensive, detailed implementation and evaluation plan for Phase 2. The main ‘developmental’ activities include: continuing discussions with potential collaborators; developing the intervention/delivery model; finalizing the conceptual evaluation framework; developing the evaluation plan, feasibility and market research for low-cost delivery of eMentoring; and identifying potential funders for a subsequent demonstration project.

Start-end date: April 2015 - May 2016
Sponsor: A Canadian Foundation

Healthy Transitions from High School — A mental health promotion and prevention initiative: Pilot Phase

This project pilot tests and refines curriculum resources designed to help students develop the social, emotional and learning skills needed to navigate the transition from high school. It builds on earlier phases of background research and program development, and includes two components: 1) evaluate the adoption, delivery, and potential effectiveness of the resources in a pilot test in a small group of Ontario high schools and 2) consultations with educators, youth, and mental health experts to fine-tune the resources and prepare for their potential delivery in a greater number of schools. As with earlier phases, this project is conducted in collaboration with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the Ontario School Mental Health ASSIST team.

Start-end date: December 2014 - September 2017
Sponsor: Anonymous sponsor + School Mental Health ASSIST

Evaluation of the Urban and Priority High Schools (UPHS) Initiative

The initiative was first implemented in the 2008-09 school year with 37 urban secondary schools across the 12 school boards receiving funding until 2013-2014. It aimed to enhance the well-being and academic success of students living in high-needs neighbourhoods by way of creating a safe and positive learning school environment. The secondary schools that participated in the UPHS worked with community partners to provide additional supports and opportunities to these students based on a needs assessment and existing services. This evaluation intends to increase our understanding of how additional supports and opportunities influenced at-risk youths’ academic success, to document effective practices in engaging students, parents, and the community, to provide recommendations in regards to the content of a program monitoring information system, and to draw recommendations for improving student outcomes at the system level.

Start-end date: February 2014 - March 2015
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Education

Understanding current employment programming and services for BC youth

This project funded five research papers that explored challenges faced by BC youth who are struggling in the labour market. The project involved a call for papers inviting researchers to submit proposals to explore youth employment barriers from a variety of angles, and to identify promising solutions for such issues as supporting youth who are entering the labour market or helping them find work that is a better match for their skills. The five selected papers covered such topics as: the barriers faced by vulnerable youth and youth living with mental illness; the value of work placements for refugee and immigrant youth; the role of employers; and the potential of social enterprises for supporting transitioning youth. The papers were presented at a June 2014 symposium in Vancouver involving approximately 80 stakeholders. The research teams also presented their findings during a series of webinars hosted by the Centre in fall 2014. The final papers have been published on the Centre’s Web site. This project was managed by the BC Centre for Employment Excellence, a division of SRDC.

Start-end date: October 2013 - August 2014
Sponsor: British Columbia Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

PSE-related financial literacy among disadvantaged youth

This project aims to address information barriers to post-secondary education (PSE) access faced by disadvantaged youth – specifically, the lack of engaging online resources to learn about the benefits of PSE and how to afford it. Together with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (BGCC), SRDC is conducting an evaluation project that tests the effectiveness of new, online financial literacy resources related to PSE and targeted to low-income youth. The resources are provided through Rogers Raising the Grade, a new after-school program offered at 35 Boys and Girls Clubs across Canada, and build on an existing collaboration between SRDC and BGCC. Funding for this project is provided by the TD Financial Literacy Grant Fund administered by Prosper Canada.

Start-end date: October 2013 - April 2015
Sponsor: Social and Enterprise Development Innovations (SEDI)

Design phase: Promoting mental health for youth through transitions

Building on an earlier phase of background research into student mental health issues, this project aims to design an intervention to support students through the transition from high school. SRDC met with potential collaborators, finalized the conceptual framework, developed an intervention/ delivery model and curriculum outline, developed an evaluation plan, and identified potential funders for a subsequent pilot test. SRDC also consulted with youth on design and delivery, and engaged experts as required to ensure the feasibility, scalability, innovation, and appeal of the intervention to high school students. The result is a detailed proposal to a funder to implement and test the program on a pilot basis, to learn what works to promote and protect student mental health.

Start-end date: September 2013 - June 2014
Sponsor: Anonymous sponsor

Moving on Mental Health – Toronto Implementation Panel

Working with the Ministry and sector stakeholder groups to develop a report that outlines options and recommendations for system reform consistent with Moving on Mental Health, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services policy framework for child and youth mental Health (A Shared Responsibility).

Start-end date: April 2013 - October 2013
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Review of Employment and Training Programs

The purpose of this Program Review is to assist the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities in developing an evidence-based framework for the potential integration and ongoing evaluation of employment and training programs. To achieve this SRDC uses a comprehensive approach including: environmental scan, review of program documents, extensive discussions with MTCU staff, analysis of existing state of knowledge reviews that SRDC has conducted, key informant interviews with other ministries, value for money techniques, stakeholder consultations, policy analysis, and program design. Based on findings from the review of in-scope programs and consultations with key stakeholders as well as an analysis of the existing research on effective and/or promising approaches to employment and training services, SRDC develops high level recommendations for a potential future state of the Ontario employment and training system.

Start-end date: December 2012 - December 2013
Sponsor: Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

Learning how to promote youth mental health through the transition from high school

With youth mental health rapidly emerging as a public policy priority, this project examines the needs of students as they make the transition from high school to post-secondary education or work. It aims to develop a plan for an intervention that will help improve students’ mental health literacy, so they are better equipped to recognize potential problems, develop effective coping strategies, and know how to use resources to promote and protect their mental health. The project involves a review of the relevant research literature, an environmental scan of existing programs, and interviews with key stakeholders, as background research to designing a potential intervention.

Start-end date: August 2012 - December 2012
Sponsor: Anonymous sponsor

Raising the Grade Evaluation

This project provides evaluation support to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (BGCC) as they develop and launch an innovative new after-school program in 25 clubs across Canada. SRDC is conducting a developmental evaluation to provide useful, timely feedback to BGCC as it fine-tunes program design and implementation, as well as an outcome evaluation to investigate potential benefits of the program for participants and clubs.

Start-end date: June 2012 - June 2017
Sponsor: Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

Multisite evaluation of the Francophone Youth Inclusion Program (YIP)

A multisite evaluation of a youth crime prevention program entitled Youth Inclusion Program (YIP). The Francophone YIP seeks to reduce the number of arrests, truancy, and school expulsions for a group of high-risk youths within the same community. To achieve its objectives, the program offers youths, by way of an individualized intervention plan, a combination of sports, education, training, and interventions on subjects such as health and drugs. The evaluation of the Francophone YIP is spread over five years and was conducted in Montreal (Quebec) and in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield (Quebec). SRDC conducted a process evaluation, an impact evaluation, a costs analysis and a relevancy evaluation.

Start-end date: November 2010 - December 2016
Sponsor: Public Safety Canada

BC Reclamation and Prospecting Teams Pilot Project

Preparation of a research design report for evaluating a culturally specific training curriculum delivered to First Nation youths in Northwestern BC using a mainly non-classroom-based teaching model.

Start-end date: February 2007 - April 2007
Sponsor: Northwest Community College

Expert advice and design options for at-risk youth and for frequent users of Employment Insurance

Start-end date: September 2001 - October 2001
Sponsor: Human Resources Development Canada

Transitions

A study to review promising school-based programs to increase student retention. The study involved reviews of the reasons students “drop out” of high school and field visits to 24 stay-in-school programs in 5 cities across BC. It recommended several promising intervention options and strategies for their evaluation.

Start-end date: January 1999 - July 1999
Sponsor: BC Ministry of Advanced Education, Training and Technology

BladeRunners and Picasso Café: A Case Study Evaluation of Two Work-based Training Programs for Disadvantaged Youth Case

The BladeRunners Partnership and the Picasso Café (Vancouver) both used work-based approaches to re-engage street youth. This case study evaluates the programs’ implementation and effectiveness.

Start-end date: August 1998 - March 2001
Sponsor: HRDC Evaluation and Data Development Branch, HRDC Youth Initiatives Directorate, National Literacy Secretariat, BC Ministry of Community Development, Cooperatives and Volunteers, and ARCO Foundation