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


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


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







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





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