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IWK Youth Forensic Services

Community Based Services
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Who we can help

The IWK Youth Forensic team provides assessment and treatment services to youth who are involved with the criminal justice system.  The service operates in partnership with the Department of Justice.

What happens at Youth Forensic Services

Youth Forensic Services is made up of a number of teams: Youth Forensic Assessment Services, Initiative for Sexually Aggressive Youth (ISAY), Complex Case Management, Mental Health Youth Court Liaisons and Forensic Rehabilitation Intervention Services.

Youth Forensic Assessment Services 

This team completes comprehensive assessments for the Youth Justice Courts in Nova Scotia under Section 34 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA).  The majority of court ordered assessments are requested to assist the court in making or reviewing a youth sentence under Section 34 of YCJA.  Other assessments requested under Section 34 include: bail review, consideration of a change in a custodial or conditional supervision order, and consideration for an adult sentence. Assessments for Sentencing are multi-dimensional and focus on risk factors identified in research as being associated with criminal and violent recidivism.  Recommendations relate directly to these risk factors in an effort to manage at youth’s risk and promote prosocial behaviour.

Assessments are also completed under the Mental Disorders section of the Criminal Code of Canada regarding Fitness to Stand Trial and Criminal Responsibility.

Forensic Rehabilitation Intervention Services 

Youth Intervention uses the Choice and Partnership Approach (CAPA) to provide intensive evidence-based therapeutic interventions and treatment to address the criminogenic and mental health needs of the youth referred to this service in the HRM.

The Initiative for Sexually Aggressive Youth (ISAY)

ISAY is a provincial initiative designed to address the treatment needs of youth who have exhibited sexually inappropriate behavior.  It is an assessment and treatment program targeting 12 to 18 year-old youth. 

ISAY is a partnership between the IWK and District Health Authorities across the province. IWK clinicians complete the comprehensive assessments for all of the youth in NS. Representatives from community mental health clinics then provide specialized treatment for the youth and their families in their home health district with supervision, training and consultation provided by the IWK.  Referrals are received by probation, DCS, police, community agencies and families themselves. 

Forensic Complex Case Management

A social worker with the team is responsible for case management of youth found Unfit or Not Criminally Responsible by the Courts, as well as any youth with an IRCS (Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision) and N-IRCS (Non-Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision) sentence.  The social worker works in partnership with the Department of Justice.  

Mental Health Youth Court Liaison

The Mental Health Youth Court Liaison team consists of two social workers and a forensic community support worker.  The team provides intensive case management and community liaison services for youth with mental health issues who are before youth court, while working collaboratively with community partners. This service is available in the HRM and referrals are accepted from a Youth Court Judge, Crown Attorneys or Defence lawyers.  

Who we are

Youth Forensic Services is a multidisciplinary team which includes psychologists, social workers, a psychiatrist and a forensic community support worker.  The team also works closely with the Department of Justice and other community partners.

Where we’re located

IWK Forensics is located at 277 Pleasant Street Dartmouth, NS B2Y 4B7.

Our services are largely accessed through Court orders, conditions of a youth’s probation order or other divisions of Justice.  For more information on our services and referrals, please call 902.491.2444.