Changing Directions in Support of Aboriginal Youth is a project funded by the National Crime Prevention Centre until July 2018. This program is designed to reach out to Aboriginal youth (First Nations, Métis & Inuit) between the ages of 12 and 18 living in Nanaimo and Williams Lake. The purpose of the program is to assist young people who carry Risk Factors that may cause disruptive behaviour and criminal activity. There is an Aboriginal Youth Support Worker in each office that will assist young people and their families by using a process called Wraparound.

Risks Factors

Prior and Current Offenses/Dispositions
This risk factor cannot be changed. We will look to see if there are three or more convictions, two or more failures to comply with a court order, any prior probation or custody and if there are three or more current convictions.

Family Circumstances/Parenting
We will address issues of inadequate supervision, difficulty in controlling behaviour, inappropriate discipline, inconsistent parenting and poor relations with parents.

We will be looking at disruptive behaviour in the classroom and on school property. We will canvas low achievement, problems with peers and teachers as well as attendance and levels of interest in employment.

Peer Relations
The Aboriginal Youth Support Workers will want to know how many delinquent versus non- delinquent friends the youth might be involved in. As well, they will assess how many positive people are involved with a youth.

Substance Abuse/Addictions
We will address levels of alcohol or drug use as well as any other addictions that may be interfering in a young person’s life.

The staff will want to know if the youth are involved in any organized activities. Could the youth make better use of their time and are there any personal interests.

The staff will canvas to see if the youth is dealing with inflated self-esteem, physical aggression and tantrums. Does the youth have a short attention span, poor frustration tolerance, and inadequate feelings of guilt and are they verbally aggressive or rude.

We want to know if the youth has antisocial and/or pro-criminal attitudes that they are not seeking help for. Are they rejecting help, defying authority and do they carry little concern for others.

Once all the risk factors have been addressed and understood by the worker and the Youth, the next step is to put an action plan together. This action plan is created with the assistance and creativity of the youth with the intent to minimize if not eliminate any future involvement in criminal activity and support a healthy and productive lifestyle moving forward.

In the case of addressing a specific risk factor…the worker and the youth may decide to benefit from the assistance of another person/professional. The worker would then canvass all options that exist in the community and see if there are people that they can work with to overcome the risk factor. Once a person or group has been identified…the worker and youth would move forward and make contact.

It also may be decided that the young person may have increased success if trusted support people (Identified by the youth) were involved in breaking down risk factors. Any and all people involved in the youth’s success would make up the Wraparound process.