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statement of principles

Support for youth and emerging adults in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Change is coming to Newfoundland and Labrador as many of our social support systems shift how they interact with youth and emerging adults. We, the undersigned, agree that the following core principles, which incorporate and build on the principles of Housing First for Youth, should be consistent across our work. This means consistency across all systems and organizations that support youth and emerging adults, and particularly within systems and organizations supporting youth who are more likely to be marginalized. This includes Indigenous, racialized, and LGBT2SQIA+ youth and youth with disabilities as well as those facing mental health challenges, addictions, family breakdown, and involvement with the child protection or criminal justice systems.






1. Recognize the distinct needs of young people and emerging adults


Systems of support and how they are delivered must be strengths-based and aligned with the unique ways children, youth, and emerging adults function, think, and interact. 

2. Reduce barriers

All organizations have a responsibility to identify barriers to access (including administrative barriers such as wait times and hours, policy barriers such as age limits, as well as cultural and geographic barriers) and work to eliminate them. Programs should be flexible, needs-based, and culturally appropriate for the young people they serve. 

3. Focus on prevention

Interventions with children and youth should be prioritized, made as early as possible, and include the provision of support for their families, with the goal of avoiding future challenges and strengthening connections with their existing community of support. Efforts should be made to identify those who are at risk of educational disengagement, family breakdown, connection to child welfare and related systems, involvement in the criminal justice system, and use of crisis response systems.

4. Family-centered interventions

Support systems should encourage the participation of young people's families (however young people define them), help strengthen those families and explicitly focus on supporting young parents and their children from the beginning of pregnancy.

5. Youth choice and self-determination

Systems supporting youth should be co-designed by youth to offer the maximum amount of choices - including in housing options, support interventions, and opportunities to engage in training, education, employment, and leadership, all without judgement. Service providers should work to ensure that seeking support is in itself an affirming, supportive, low-risk act.

6. Support for Indigenous youth

A commitment to reconciliation means a commitment to Indigenous youth. Indigenous young people face a challenging landscape of intergenerational trauma and discrimination. Systems supporting youth must recognize this and support the strengthening of connections to culture, to the land, and to the community for Indigenous youth, while recognizing the diversity of Indigenous cultures and experiences. This work must be led by indigenous organizations and communities, whose ways of working and knowing provide important lessons for all, and particularly for service providers.

7. Support for LGBT2SQIA+ youth

Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgener, Two-Spirited, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBT2SQIA+) youth face much higher risks of family breakdown, homelessness, and violence, and require targeted supports. These supports must recognize how different kinds of marginalization intersect. They must also include education for service providers and communities and engage peers, schools, and families in the struggle against discrimination against this population. 

8. Harm reduction

Services for youth and emerging adults should be designed to meet them where they are at, regardless of behaviour or the choices they are able to make at any given time (e.g. addictions, mental health challenges, criminal-justice involvement, attendance, etc.). Instead, they must be provided with the resources and tools they need to attain maximum safety in their current circumstance as well as being offered additional support aimed at long-term stability and growth. Service providers must focus on the training and support needed to make their staff champions of this approach in this community, and on providing diverse service options that still offer youth choice. 

9. Integrated services (integrated models of care) and coordinated access

Closer integration, prioritization, and information-sharing between programs, organizations, and systems should be an explicit goal of all  youth service providers, and should extend to a broad network of organizations that includes all levels of government, community organizations, and the private sector. This includes low-barrier and province-wide coordinated access to a wide range of support services, as well as physical co-location of youth supports.

10. Targeted supports for the most vulnerable youth

The most vulnerable youth (those facing multiple, overlapping barriers related to addictions, mental health, family breakdown, and involvement with the justice system) often have the most limited access to resources and can be very difficult to engage. Targeting engagement and supports towards these youth, particularly supports focused on prevention, helps avoid lifelong impacts and system involvements and should be a priority for youth-serving organizations. When services are not accessible, service providers must work to provide alternative options.

11. Trauma-informed practice

Supports and organizational practices should be designed to recognize that many young people seeking support have experienced one or more types of trauma, and to acknowledge the distinct impacts of intergenerational trauma. Practice should be informed by principles of safety, choice, collaboration, trustworthiness, and empowerment . Service providers should always be seeking education on the impacts of trauma and how to respond to them so as to provide trusting and nonjudgmental spaces for youth.

12. Support for youth and emerging adults with disabilities

Youth and emerging adults with disabilities have equal rights to support and to opportunities to thrive. Service providers must identify ways to make programs more inclusive and to provide targeted supports where needed.

13. Recognizing intersectionality

While providing targeted support is important, it is also important to recognize that many young people and emerging adults live at the intersection of multiple identities, strengths, and risks and should not need to self-identify within one particular group to receive support.

14. Celebrating successes and strengths

Service providers should make every effort to identify and celebrate the many ways in which each young person has strengths, achieves successes (however small), and how they can be a support to their peers.

By acting together, we are building a brighter future.

Add your voice to the list of individuals and organizations supporting this work.


Blake Sheppard-Pardy

Charles J. Andrew Youth and Family Treatment Center


April Andersen

Charles J. Andrew Youth and Family Treatment Centre


April Andrews

Charles J. Andrew Youth and Family Treatment Center


Patricia Kemuksigak

Charles J. Andrew Youth and Family Treatment Center


Blake Sheppard Pardy 

Charles J. Andrew Youth and Family Treatment Center


Pauletta Tremblett

Charles J. Andrew Youth and Family Treatment Center


Jackie Lake-Kavanaugh

Office of the Child and Youth Advocate


Wilma MacInnis

Office of the Child and Youth Advocate


Will White

Youth Centres Canada, Grand Falls-Windsor

Karen Young

Aunt Jean's Place, Stephenville


Lisa Browne

Stella's Circle


Jill Peckford

Stella's Circle


Stephen Gaetz

Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, York University


Paul Rowe

Catherine Donnelly Foundation


Angela Picco

Choices for Youth


Kris Kelly

Choices for Youth


Jeannie Piercey

Choices for Youth


Sheldon Pollett

Choices for Youth


Ayon Shahed

Choices for Youth


Joshua Smee

Choices for Youth


Board of Directors

Choices for Youth


Susan Rose

Egale Canada


Scott Hudson

Nunatsiavut Government


Kaila de Boer

Nunatsiavut Government


Odelle Pike

People of the Dawn Indigenous Friendship Centre/ Newfoundland Aboriginal Womens Network


Jennifer Elson

Labrador Friendship Centre


Alicia Neville

Labrador Friendship Centre


Jennifer Hefler-Elson

Labrador Friendship Centre


Chris Sheppard

St. John’s Native Friendship Centre


Crystal Cater

Homelessness Partnership Strategy, Grand Falls-Windsor


Stephanie Battcock

Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador


Colin Hipditch

Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador


Joan Brown

Housing Supports Office, Marystown


Shirley Coady

Housing Homeless Network, Marystown


Katie Wells

Town of Happy Valley - Goose Bay


Karen Beresford

Exploits Valley Community Coalition


Gail Thorne

Exploits Community Centre


MaryAnn Spearing

Community Mental Health Initiative, Corner Brook


Steve Gaulton

Community Mental Health Initiative, Corner Brook


Jade Kearley

Community Mental Health Initiative, Corner Brook


Janice KennedyBay St. George Status of Women Council, Corner Brook

Bernice Penashue

Innu Round Table Secretariat


Kylie Rose

Innu Round Table Secretariat


Miriam Lyall



Ken Mesher



Elizabeth Penashue



Steve Mathias

Foundry, British Columbia


Terrilee Kelford

Cornerstone Landing Youth Services, Ontario


Kimberly Beers

Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador


Amanda Winsor

Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador


Denise Rumboldt

NunatuKavut Community Council


Frankie Leonard

Premier's Youth Council


Desiree Wolfrey

Rigolet Safe House, Rigolet


Helen Whalen

SPLASH Centre, Harbour Grace


Maggie Snow

SPLASH Centre, Harbour Grace


Kerri Randell

Central Housing and Homelessness Network


Cyril Tobin

Newfoundland & Labrador Housing & Homelessness Network


Dan Goodyear

Canadian Mental Health Association NL


Bruce Pearce

End Homelessness St. John's


Courtney Slaney

Community Youth Network, Gander


Chelsea Barbour

Community Youth Network, Nain


Mary Barter

Community Youth Network, Southwest NL


Jennifer Bennett

Community Youth Network, Placentia


Lisa Buckland

Community Youth Network, Corner Brook


Marie Bungay

Community Youth Network, Harbour Breton


Deidre Clarke

Community Youth Network, Springdale


Sara Dyson

Community Youth Network, Hopedale


Debbie Forsey

Community Youth Network, Grand Bank


Colleen Hayter

Community Youth Network, Botwood


Paulette Isaacs

Community Youth Network, St. Lawrence


Amy Ivany

Community Youth Network, Baie Verte


Vanessa Lee

Community Youth Network, Southwest NL


Robert Moran

Community Youth Network, Cape Broyle


Cailin Pardy

Community Youth Network, Cartwright


Sharon Price

Community Youth Network, Summerford


Carmella Rose

Community Youth Network, St. Anthony


Lisa Ryland

Community Youth Network, Southern Labrador


April Skinner

Community Youth Network, Grand Falls-Windsor


Pam Stevens

Community Youth Network, Bonavista


Nancy Baines Toope

Community Youth Network, Plum Point


Krystle White

Community Youth Network, Port aux Basques


Lisa Willcott

Community Youth Network, St. Albans


Roseanne Leonard

NL Association of CBDCs

Christine Young

YMCA of Western NL, Corner Brook

Shaun Obed

Youth Delegate

Nicole Seymour

Youth Delegate


Nick Ings

Youth Delegate


Jobie Lidd

Youth Delegate

Patrick Hickey

Youth Delegate


Cody Byrne

Youth Delegate


AJ Clarke

Youth Delegate


Brittany Stockley

Youth Delegate


Donovan Taplin

The Prime Minister's Youth Council


Bernice Hancock

Community Education Network, Stephenville


Michelle Power

Community Education Network, Stephenville


Lynette Collins

Mariner Resources Opportunities Network


Dale Mayne

Mariner Resources Opportunities Network


 David French

A Way Home Canada


Melanie Redman

A Way Home Canada


Tonia Pilgrim

Labrador-Grenfell Health


Danette Hicks

Salvation Army Community and Family Services, Gander


Roxana Green

Community Youth Network, Clarenville and Area


Angela Crockwell

Community Youth Network, St. John's


Nicole Keiley

NL Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre


Kevin O'Shea

Public Legal Information Association of NL


Carolann Harding

SmartICE Inc.


Mike Kearley

Vine Place Community Centre, Corner Brook


Robyn LeGrow

Jimmy Pratt Foundation


Cindy Murphy

John Howard Society


Wendolyn Schlamp

YWCA St. John’s


Vickie Budgell-Chippett

ACE Neighbourhood Centre, Bishop’s Falls


Gary Noftle

Boys and Girls Club, Buchans


Ashley Ivany

Boys and Girls Club, Botwood


Jane Henderson

Boys and Girls Club of St. John's


Paula Sheppard Thibeau

Corner Brook Status of Women Council, Mount Moriah


Rob Higgs

Lake Melville Youth Centre Steering Committee, Goose Bay


Tracey Coady

Regional Action Committee on Housing (REACH), Clarenville


Emile Cabot

Social Change Network, Grand Falls-Windsor


Jackie Thompson

Status of Women Central, Grand Falls-Windsor


AnnMarie Connors

Transition House, Gander


Heather Davis

Transition House, Corner Brook


Nicole Dicker

Transition House, Nain


Teena Flowers

Transition House, Hopedale


Michelle Greene

Transition House, St. John’s


Jessica Keating

Transition House, Happy Valley - Goose Bay


Nicole Northcott

Transition House, Labrador City


Lisa Slaney

Transition House, Marystown


Dan Meades

Transition House Association of NL, St. John’s



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