Key Message


This conference will specifically focus on trauma, attachment and brain development, and explore challenges that youth experiencing high risk circumstances face related to education and employment, diversity and identity, and addictions and mental health.


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.