Research purpose: To set the foundation for the creation of new services and programs for Transitional Aged Youth in Southwestern Ontario.
Research background: For the past six years, Community Living Stratford has been providing services and supports to Transitional Aged Youth (age 18-29). Throughout their lives, these young people have been Crown Wards and in the welfare system. They all have a dual diagnosis of developmental disabilities and mental health problems.
Community Living Stratford and Area as well as other Agencies across the province have many stories to tell about meeting the challenging needs of this particular group of young people. These challenges arise because of the limitations and trauma (e.g., bullying, rejection, living in very controlled environments, moving to different homes over and over) that have been placed on them through their learning years. In addition, once they turn 18 years old they are very vocal about their adult status and their desires for the independence and freedom that accompany adulthood.
Unfortunately, however, they have not been given the foundation to problem solve, understand the responsibility that goes along with living independently (e.g., paying rent and bills), have positive social circles, and understand what it takes to build positive relationships. On top of this, these young adolescents have the same needs as any other adolescent: to learn, assert their independence, sexual experimentation, try new things, and bend to pressure from their peers. Unfortunately, the peers that these young people know and interact with come from the same background with the same traumas and diagnosis. As a result, these challenges manifest into substance abuse/addictions, sexual vulnerability, police and court intervention, becoming transient/ homeless, physical and health issues.
Community lead: Community Living Stratford and Area
CHEC's role: workshop facilitation, project management, research advice