Daring to Begin and Youth Justice

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F.A.S.T will provide face to face assessment for the young offender, using the Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory. That makes a probability statement of 98% accuracy, Based on illicit drug use and associated behaviours . This then moves the young offender into the recovery phase using the “Stages of Change Model” that consists of Step#1. Pre-contemplation, Step# 2 Contemplation, Step#3 Preparation, Step#4 Action, Step#5 maintenance and when it occurs Relapse, takes you back to Step # 1 when needed. This can be done on a face to face basis or by “E” counseling that will allow counseling 7days, 24hours per day365 day a year. With specialized counselors trained in “E” counseling that would customize our dual-pronged program specifically target to young offenders and re-integrate them back into the community through school or employment, while repairing and enhancing family relationships.

Parents and sibling are provided education and counselling services specific to substance abuse addiction. Reintegrate youth back into the community through school or employment. Repair and enhance family relationships.

As a result of these Stages of Change e-counselling initiative, adolescents who previously would not be able to or feel comfortable obtaining treatment and counselling will be able to receive the treatment/counselling necessary for recovery from substance abuse. As mentioned earlier, this type of counselling benefits a wide variety of community members who might not otherwise seek counselling due to a variety of restrictions, including lack of transportation, distance, and the stigma still associated with counseling.

As we are the only program dealing with youth substance abuse issues in either Halton or Peel regions, we have client referrals from across these two regions as well as from Hamilton-Wentworth due to the lack of these types of programs in those communities. We have a proven track record of success, averaging 75%, which means the youth has become substance free and remained so for over a year.

The model to be used, Stages of Change e-counselling will reach a far wider clientele as it allows the counselor to tailor the approach taken to the particular stage of change the client is in at the moment, and also allows the client to move one stage at a time at their own pace. The Stages of Change model is a different approach to counselling young offenders. In the past it was an abstinent-based program of the same duration for everyone that did not recognize that each client go through stages while changing their behavior and each at their own pace. It demanded that client’s remain drug free from the minute they began counselling, and if they didn’t this represented failure.

As mentioned above, this new model contains six steps, or stages. In the first stage, pre-contemplation, the client is unaware there is a problem and unwilling to change their behaviour. The goals of this stage are to increase awareness of the need for change and to have the client see the possibility of change. Clients in this stage are reluctant, rebellious, resigned and rationalizing. The second step is contemplation. In this stage, clients are aware of a problem, but not ready to change. They are dealing with ambivalence, and weighing the pros and cons. In this stage clients see an increased awareness of the need for change while beginning to see the possibility for change.

The third step is preparation. In this stage client’s attitudes turn from ambivalence into intention to take action. The clients set attainable goals and make specific plans for their rehabilitation. The clients increase their commitment to change; develop a plan for change; and implement an action plan to be completed in the near future. The fourth step is action. In this step commitment is clear and the client modifies behaviour, experiences, and their environment to address the problem. In the action stage, the client implements change strategies; maintains commitment; if necessary revises their plan; and sustains new patterns.

The fifth step, and sometimes the final step, is maintenance. In this stage the client stabilizes behavioural changes and engages in new behaviour. They choose an effective support system to maintain this new behaviour. In this stage it is important to support self-efficacy, reaffirm commitment, support change efforts, highlight positive benefits, identify risks and temptations, review and practice coping skills, relapse prevention skills, and highlight resources to the client. The goals in this stage are for the client to maintain change over time and sustain their change in behaviour. The sixth step, that not all clients enter, is relapse. This step is viewed as a temporary loss of motivation and is a learning opportunity. In this stage the goals are for the client to see that slipping and sliding (relapse) is normal and that change is cyclical, to reframe slips as learning experiences, to help with discouragement, and to encourage change efforts. The Stages of Change model will work as it allows the counselor to tailor the approach taken to the stage the client is in, it allows the counselor and client to move one stage at a time, and brings patience into counselling as it takes time to successfully make a change.