MC3 - Partnerships Work - A Model of Collaborative Service


Partnerships at Work: Collaboration between Alternatives for


and the Hamilton Wentworth District

School Board

43rd Annual Addictions Ontario Conference

Sue Kennedy, Executive Director

AY/Alternatives for Youth

David Hoy, Manager of Social Work

Hamilton Wentworth District School Board

Monday May 30 st , 2011

This presentation



 The innovative work happening within Hamilton within the context of secondary school students who are substance involved

 How we are conducting systems planning and community development work

 The model of collaboration between Alternatives for Youth and the Hamilton Wentworth District

School Board


 For the past 20 years Addiction Counsellors from AY have been providing substance abuse counselling on-site at the HWDSB. Historically AY and HWDSB have had a longstanding ad-hoc partnership

 AY decided to embrace the Best Practice of providing service to youth where youth are and expanded its service across 10 secondary schools across our region

 Most recently HWDSB and AY formalized the partnership and author a Third Party Agreement

History continued…

 In 2008, the Student Support Leadership Initiative was implemented with the aim of

 improving integrated services for students with mental health and substance use concerns increasing local capacity to support students support system planning at the local level

 HWDSB and AY were well positioned to be active participants in the initiative

Partnership Philosophy

 A partnership is a mutually beneficial, reciprocal supportive arrangement between a school or school board and a community service provider

 Partnerships are the relationships that add human or material resources through services/supports that ultimately lead to improved student learning

Philosophy Continued

 Through partnerships we seek to improve school programs, school climate as well as providing services to our families and students

 Ultimately, well functioning, healthy individuals are able to make contributions to the betterment of our community

Terms of Partnership


 Refer students to the Alternatives for Youth counsellor who may benefit from drug counselling as per Alternatives for Youth referral protocol

 Provide consultation to Alternatives for Youth counsellors and work collaboratively with

Alternatives for Youth counsellors to support student needs

Terms of Partnership cont’d


 Coordinate training opportunities for

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board staff by Alternatives for Youth counsellors

 Collaborate with AY executive staff for the purpose of partnership review , development and evaluation

Terms of Partnership


 Provide an Alternatives for Youth counsellor who has expertise in the area of substance abuse assessment, treatment, referral and case management

 Provide substance abuse education to students and their families in the context of the school culture

Terms of Partnerships cont’d


 Provide substance abuse consultation education and support to school

 Administrators

 Student services educators

 Social Workers

 Educational assistants

 Liaise with other community professionals providing service in the school e.g. PHN

Terms of Partnership Cont’d

 Provide individualized treatment intervention for those students who are referred as a result of suspension related to substance use

 Substance abuse education may also be delivered within the classroom setting upon request and in conjunction with other health prevention professionals(PHN)



 Students will be more informed and better educated about their decision/choice concerning substance use and how such activity may adversely affect educational progress, personal functioning and relationships

 Staff will have a better understanding of student substance abuse, recognize indicators of substance misuse and be able to access appropriate support for students through AY

Alternatives for Youth

 AY Opened its doors in 1969

 Community treatment for children and youth ages 12-23 who are substance involved

 Provide assessment, treatment planning, evidence informed interventions, referral and follow-up in a harm reduction framework

 Comprehensive psychiatric assessment, consultation, and treatment for youth with concurrent disorders

Risk Factors for Adolescent

Substance Use

 Family History:

 Parental drug use

 Quality of family relationships, organization and communication

 Ineffective parenting or absence of

 Intimacy and stability(disengagement/enmeshment)

Risk Factors Cont’d

 Early Anti-social Behaviour

 the greater the variety, frequency and seriousness: the greater the likelihood of drug abuse

 e.g. rebelliousness, temperament, social isolation, impulsivity, early learning related difficulties, early onset on drug use

Risk Factors cont’d

 Peers

Association with drug using peers during adolescence

Perceived use of drugs by other adolescents

Peer influence-the great debate-do friends negatively influence friends or do friends gravitate toward those who share their own values and beliefs

Risk Factors cont’d

 Attitudes, Beliefs, Personality Traits





 Resistance to traditional authority

Challenges with student population of drug users

 Acute ambivalence toward their own drug use

 Influence of significant others in seeking treatment

 Understanding use a problem in itself and in context of situational issues

 Provocative, challenging and testing behaviours

Substance Use Trends in

Student Population

In the general student population the most frequent substances used continue to be alcohol ,cannabis and tobacco-local public health survey and support provincial averages

66%use alcohol

30%use cannabis

 19% use tobacco

Student Use of Substances continued-The Rainbow Party

 Opioids

 Benzodiazepines

 Sedatives

 Solvents

 Cocaine

 Hallucinogens

 Anabolic Steroids

Club Drugs




Hallucinogenic stimulants


Dissociative anaesthetics

(ketamine, PCP)

Substance Use Continuum

 AY counsellors support youth across the substance use continuum :

Experimental use:

Irregular use:

Regular use

Dependant use

Harmful Use

Interventions that work

AY counsellors assess appropriately and tailor intervention accordingly-not a one size fits all.

 Early intervention and education

 Harm Reduction

 Monitoring

 Assessment

 Treatment


 Enhance motivation for change

 Prevent further involvement in substance use

 Reverse involvement in substance use

 Reduce harm from substance use

Youth and Concurrent


 AY counsellors have received referrals for students diagnosed with a mental health disorder who are substance involved:

 Five most common are:

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Conduct Disorder

Depression and Bipolar

Social Anxiety Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Concurrent Disorder


 Students who are referred to AY counsellor can support a referral to the AY consulting child and adolescent psychiatrist who will:

Provide a comprehensive psychiatric assessment

Prescribe medications in consultation with GP

Provide direct consultation with student, AY counsellor to make treatment recommendations and implement integrated treatment plan

AY counsellors monitor and support youth


 Timely access to necessary substance abuse and mental health services,

 Services provided on-site at school ensuring flexibility and customized treatment options

 Students can be empowered to direct their own treatment plan(readiness)

 Parents and caregivers of students have increased access to community supports


 Forging relationships between agency counsellors and school educators takes time and commitment

 Balancing harm reduction approach within the parameters of safe-schools legislation

 Working with diverse staff and individual cultures within each school

 Supporting a school climate that the supports the de-stigmatization of mental health and substance abuse.

Questions and Answers?

Contact Information

Sue Kennedy

Executive Director, Alternatives for Youth

David Hoy, Manager of Social Work

Hamilton Wentworth District School Board