Key Message


This conference intends to elevate the shift in practice to relationship-based approaches while challenging participants to question, enhance, or reinforce "the radical" practices they are using when engaging with youth facing significant barriers and high-risk situations.


The A4YC Steering Committee believes in “radical practice for compassionate connections” and is united in its belief that:

  • Youth facing high-risk circumstances, and all youth, deserve the opportunity to live their lives in a meaningful way, to feel safe, and experience a sense of inclusion and belonging.

  • The current shift in practice toward a relationship-based focus needs to be reinforced and encouraged.

  • This work with youth experiencing high-risk circumstances incorporates the most recent research, literature and trends in areas such as trauma, attachment and brain development in children and youth; harm reduction; resilience; strength-based practice; collaborative, multi-disciplinary practice; trauma-informed intervention; as presented by experts in the field.

  • Youth can help inform practice and be instrumental in initiating and supporting positive change in policy.

  • Youth are the “experts in their own lives” and need to be included in all aspects of service delivery.

  • Reinforce the efforts being made to address current issues impacting youth, and create a forum to showcase progressive examples of practice that have demonstrated success in engaging youth.

  • Youth and conference participants will come together in a spirit of learning and sharing, while celebrating the gifts that each of us have to offer.