More Youth Services
- Parent-Teen Mediation
- Youth in Care Organizations & Support Groups
- Safe Housing and Emergency Shelter Services
- Sexually Exploited Youth
What is mediation?
The dictionary defines mediation as "the process or action of mediating between people or organizations who do not agree, in order to bring about an agreement or reconciliation."
If you and your parents are in crisis, parent-teen mediation can provide you with counseling and ways to solve problems and issues in your family.
The goals of the program are:
- to keep families together
- help families solve problems on their own
- help families recognize and focus on the things that are working in their relationships
- keep teens out of foster homes.
If you and your family are in crisis, contact a local Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) office. A social worker can assess your need for a referral to a trained parent/teen mediation counselor. MCFD social workers also often help to mediate and resolve conflicts.
What are youth-in-care organizations and support groups?
They can provide you with formal and informal support if you are a child or youth currently in care or a young adult who was formerly in care.
Apart from their experiences with the child welfare system, youth in/from care can offer an experiential viewpoint on subjects like: adolescent prostitution and sex trade work; learning difficulties; physical, sexual, and emotional abuse; family violence; emotional and behavioural difficulties; and substance abuse. Resources can be found at the Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks website.
If you are a street youth or sexually exploited youth wanting to leave the street this service can provide you with safe housing. There are a wide range of safe housing arrangements.
The ministry recognizes that once you are on the street, intimidation, threats and the fear of revenge from a pimp can be a major reason in preventing you from seeking a safer and healthier lifestyle. Safe housing provides you with a safe place to stay while providing support and counseling.
What is a sexually exploited youth?
A sexually exploited youth is someone who is under the age of 19, who is being manipulated or forced to engage in sexual activity in exchange for drugs, money, food, shelter, or other considerations. This is the case whether or not children or youth consider themselves to be consenting.
Sexual exploitation of children and youth is never considered prostitution or consensual. It is a crime for an adult to engage in sexual activity with a person under the age of 16.
It is sexual exploitation when children and youth:
- are sexually abused by adults;
- provide sex in exchange for or in order to have a place to sleep, a meal, or a ride;
- trade sexual activities in exchange for money, drugs, alcohol, gifts, services, or other items;
- are trafficked;
- are under the age of 18 and are seduced, manipulated or coerced to take sexual pictures/videos of themselves (child pornography) and then sent over the Internet.
Child welfare workers respond to reports of children and youth in need of protection. They can:
- take immediate action with other service providers to ensure a young person’s safety;
- engage a child’s or youth’s family in a plan to keep the young person safe and build family strengths;
- work with a youth to keep the youth safe and develop his or her capacity to live at home, with extended family, or independently;
- start a child protection investigation; and/or,
- seek a court order such as a “Protective Intervention Order” or “Restraining Order” to keep another person away from a child or youth.
MCFD and partner agencies provide a range of services, including:
- crisis counselling which can be accessed by calling the Helpline for Children at 310-1234 (no area code needed);
- safe houses for sexually exploited youth;
- youth outreach/support workers distributed throughout BC;
- the use of Youth Agreements which can provide housing, education, money or other support services to youth, between the ages of 16 to 18 years old, who are sexually exploited, have alcohol and drug and/or mental health issues and are currently not living at home (high-risk youth).
- The ministry also works closely with the Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks, which provides a variety of advocacy and support services for both youth in and out of care transitioning to adulthood.
Call the Helpline for Children at 310-1234 if you have a concern about the safety and well-being of a child. For more information on reporting concerns about child abuse and neglect:
- Responding to Child Welfare Concerns Your Role in Knowing When and What to Report
- The B.C. Handbook for Action on Child Abuse and Neglect For Service Providers
- or contact VictimLink BC at 1 800 563-0808.