Supportive environments for youth with complex needs

Last modified by Ann Watkins on 2016/04/07 17:21


This webinar will present new findings from the CYCC Network report exploring what makes a supportive service environment that can help children and youth with complex needs. Mental health being at the centre of the complexity, these children and youth have multiple serious issues that compromise their physical, mental and emotional well-being and development. In order to best meet the needs of these young people, interdependence between different services and systems is an important principle. Seven core elements of effective interventions leading to supportive environments will be discussed.  It is because of the complex needs of these young people that the provision of services from different disciplines across various service sectors is crucial. Approaching the various facets of a child and youth’s life in an ecologically comprehensive manner provides a unique opportunity to protect supportive factors and at the same time address risk factors. ​




Michael Ungar, Ph.D. is both a family therapist and a Professor of Social Work at Dalhousie University where he is the Scientific Director of the CYCC Network and Co-Director of the Resilience Research Centre that coordinates more than five million dollars in funded research in over a dozen countries. His research is focused on resilience among children, youth and families and how they together survive adversity in culturally diverse ways. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on this topic and is the author of 11 books including The Social Worker, his first novel. Among his books for professionals are The Social Ecology of Resilience: A Handbook for Theory and Practice and Strengths-based Counseling with At-risk Youth. He also writes for parents and educators. Among his most recent works are We Generation: Raising Socially Responsible Children and Teens and Too Safe For Their Own Good: How Risk and Responsibility Help Teens Thrive. In addition to his research and writing, Michael maintains a small family therapy practice in association with Phoenix Youth Programs, a prevention program for street youth and their families, and was the recipient of the 2012 Canadian Association of Social Workers National Distinguished Service Award. His blog, Nurturing Resilience, can be read on Psychology Today’s website.


Lisa Lachance is the Executive Director of the CYCC Network and Institute and joined the team in April 2013. Prior to this, she spent the majority of her career in the public sector, working first with the federal government in Ottawa, primarily at CIDA and with stints at PCO and DFO. At CIDA, Lisa worked in both programs and policy with a particular focus on children’s rights and participation. Since returning to Halifax in 2008, Lisa worked at the Nova Scotia Department of Finance, as well as consulting for Canadian, international and UN organizations, including children’s rights and gender equality projects. Lisa's areas of expertise include policy development and implementation; strategic and operational planning and implementation; facilitation; and Results Based Management. Lisa has also been recognized as an effective non-profit leader as past President and Board member of a range of national Canadian non-profit organizations. Lisa holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Development Studies and a Masters in Public Administration(both degrees from Dalhousie University).


Emily Zinck is a PhD Student at Dalhousie University in the Interdisciplinary program, and a recipient of the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldier Scholarship in 2013. Her PhD research will be looking at the use of participatory action research with youth in a post-conflict setting. Emily works as a project manager at the CYCC Network at Dalhousie University. In 2010, Emily received her MSc with distinction in International Health from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Prior to this, she received her BA (Honours) from Dalhousie University in International Development Studies. Her research interests include children and youth in conflict/ post-conflict settings, social justice, international humanitarian law, knowledge mobilization, and youth engagement. Emily has been involved in different programs and campaigns with the Canadian Red Cross, Teachers Without Borders, Shiloh Social Justice Network, and Networks for Change.


Timothy Crooks is a graduate of the School of Social Work at Dalhousie University and prior to his years in this field, has a background in teaching having graduated from Acadia University.

In addition to his work with Phoenix, he has served on a variety of boards and steering committees within the extended community and continues to be active with several provincial and federal initiatives.  He has been involved with the School of Health and Human Performance at Dalhousie University as a sessional instructor teaching on issues relating to counselling and youth at risk.  Timothy has served as Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Department of Child and Youth Study at Mount St. Vincent University.  During his career, Timothy has been honored to receive recognition for his efforts in his field of practice:

  • The Canadian Society of Association Executives - Community/Association Leadership Award.  
  •  Gordon Foundation - recognition of his impact on the field of Child and Youth Care work.
  •  Acadia University identified Timothy as an Outstanding Alumnus.  
  • Business Person of the Year- Silver Award - Halifax Chamber of Commerce Business Awards.  
  • Honorable Mayann E. Francis, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia - recognizing his work on social justice issues within the extended community. 

Presently, he co-chairs a Ministerial working group focused on building more positive connections between service providers and the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services.

Created by Samantha DeLenardo on 2015/01/19 20:39