Choices for Youth (CFY) is pleased to officially release our new strategic plan for 2023-2028. This five-year strategic plan is our renewed commitment to our mission of meeting the needs of vulnerable youth in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). Over the past few months, we have listened to the voices of dozens of young people. This plan is our response to a call to action from youth to address the rise in housing, mental health, and food security challenges in NL while centering lived experience and the principles of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI).
The development of CFY’s new strategic plan began in early 2022 and included consultation with 80 staff members, 90 young people, and 14 external stakeholders, including government and community partners. CFY is thankful to have worked with so many amazing individuals and organizations throughout the strategic planning process and we will continue engaging with these parties to champion our shared vision as we move forward with our new strategic plan.
One major change announced in this strategic plan is that CFY is officially expanding our age mandate from youth, ages 16-29, to youth and families, prenatal to 29. While not all CFY programs and services will support this expanded age range, the updated age mandate better reflects the work that CFY programs such as Momma Moment and Upstream NL are doing to support children, youth, and families.
As CFY looks toward the future, our 2023-2028 strategic plan outlines our commitment to continue to provide critical services to youth across the province. Our strategic plan is organized into four core focus areas, each with specific goals and key actions that address all aspects of CFY’s operation while bolstering our existing programming and reaffirming our vision, culture, and commitment to EDI.
Increasing Affordable Housing Access
Access to affordable housing is, unsurprisingly, one of the biggest challenges that young people are facing today. CFY has championed a housing-first for youth approach for decades and housing continues to be an area of focus in our new strategic plan. Our commitment to addressing housing needs for youth and young families includes: 1) increasing the number of CFY-owned and/or operated affordable housing units in St. John’s by 50% by 2028, 2) decreasing CFY’s housing stock waitlist to two weeks by 2025, and 3) expanding the operation of housing units outside of the St. John’s metro area by 2028.
Expanding Mental Health Services
Access to appropriate mental healthcare services is another increasing need that we heard from young people. CFY’s new strategic plan will address youth mental health by investing in new and bolstered mental health services, including adding additional therapist positions to our team and exploring the implementation of a centralized mental health team at CFY. Additionally, the expansion of CFY’s Integrated Youth Services (IYS) is essential to ensuring equitable access to youth mental health services across NL. We will continue our efforts to secure long-term funding from multiple levels of government to expand service delivery across NL. This includes scaling our service delivery to four more IYS sites across the province with a focus on youth mental health and wrap-around supports delivery, allowing us to reach youth in rural, remote, and northern regions through a network of more than 65 partner organizations.
Championing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI)
As CFY works towards achieving the goals and key actions of this strategic plan, we will also be prioritizing EDI CFY will be creating an Advisory Committee on EDI, including paid community members with lived experience and/or professional expertise to help inform the development and implementation of an EDI strategy for our organization.
Key actions towards prioritizing EDI include diversifying our workforce and developing programs and partnerships that support diverse youth populations, including a commitment to a number of initiatives to enhance EDI such as expanding program hours to reach a greater diversity of youth, integrating culturally diverse food options in our programming, and developing a peer-to-peer support program for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth.
Furthermore, we are committed to centering lived experience in everything we do, including ongoing investment in our Youth Leadership and Advisory Council (YLAC). The YLAC informs new program development, leads advocacy initiatives, and acts as advisors on CFY’s existing programs.
While CFY’s new strategic plan aims to be as comprehensive as possible, we will continue to be data-driven and committed to evaluating and re-assessing our goals and key actions based on the feedback and lived experiences of the youth we serve. We will continue to invest in high-quality impact measurement and research across our programs and we will be developing a public dashboard that provides updates, twice annually, to the public that summarizes our organization’s impact. The public dashboard, along with regular updates through impact reports and our yearly Annual Report, will increase transparency and accountability throughout CFY.
To learn more about CFY’s vision, mission, and goals for 2023-2028, please review the full strategic plan: www.cfystrategicplan.com
Choices for Youth (CFY) strives towards a culture of inclusion and empowerment, one where there’s a sense of belonging and safety while prioritizing diversity across the organization, including in its Board of Directors composition, employment practices, staff, policies, programming, and services. CFY actively works to support program participants, staff, and volunteers who identify as Indigenous, Black, racialized and/or as members of other equity-seeking and/or religious, cultural, and other communities; members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community; people with disabilities; and people from a variety of social and economic backgrounds. CFY is committed to providing support and accommodations to all involved with the organization, including employees, program participants, and volunteers. Should you require support or accommodation(s) to enable your participation within CFY’s programs, and/or during the hiring, selection, or employment process please let us know at any point.