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Youth and Family Program

Are you between the ages of 12 and 24 and struggling with an addiction?
Are you worried about a young family member’s use of alcohol or drugs?

At ASYR we focus on you, not just the addiction. You are bigger than your addiction. You are not defined by your addiction.

If your relationships with family, friends, work or school are suffering, or if you are developing physical or emotional problems due to substance abuse, we can work with you.

Let’s talk.

We recognize… not all youth are the same. Your family life, community, friends and experiences all affect who you are. We work with you to develop a harm-reduction program based around a holistic and biopsychological approach. In other words, we look at the biological, psychological, social and spiritual factors that affect your addiction.

Service Design

The program services are designed to support the recovery, health, and well-being of the persons or families served. The services also enhance the quality of life of the person served and build resilience. The services are designed and implemented to reduce symptoms and restore or improve functioning of a person struggling with addiction issues. Services are designed and implemented to support the integration of the person served into the community.

Our Focus

  • Individual care that is developed with you and centred on your needs
  • A trust and respect for your motivation for treatment
  • Involving your family, as defined by you
  • To examine your situation as it relates to your relationships including peers, family and community

Program Philosophy

The ASYR Youth and Family Program provides comprehensive assessment, referral and treatment services for youth, aged 12-24, with an identified substance use concern, as well as support for family members.  It is funded through the Central LHIN, an agency  of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

Services are provided at our main office in Aurora; at three satellite offices, in Markham, Richmond Hill, and Vaughan; and at designated secondary schools within the York Region District School Board (YRDSB) and the York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB).

Treatment Modality

Modality Used

All counsellors are skilled in the basic counselling techniques of paraphrasing, reflection of feelings, summarizing, and providing other forms of empathy and unconditional positive regard. Other treatment modalities are Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Solution-Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Narrative Therapy, and Family Systems Theory.

Credentials of Staff

Staff members vary in their credentials. Some have a college diploma in addictions. Others have a Bachelors degree in social work, sociology, or psychology. Additionally, some staff members have earned a Master’s degree in counselling, social work, or couple and family therapy. All staff members are either qualifying or belong to a regulatory college. The two main colleges are the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers and the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.

Target Population

The Youth and Family Program primarily serves youth (aged 12 to 24) and their families who reside within the boundaries of the Central Local Health Integrated Network (Central LHIN), and who have a substance use concern.  Primary substances of concern must not include opiates, tobacco (nicotine) and/or caffeine. 

Other agency programs may also be more a more appropriate ‘fit’ for the client, based on their specific circumstances.  Internal transfers and/or consultations are encouraged, when applicable.  For example, clients whose primary substances of concern are opiates are typically served within the Community Opioid Treatment Program (COTP); clients experiencing withdrawal symptoms and have identified a goal of abstinence could be seen in the Community Withdrawal Management Services (CWMS) program; and clients who are diagnosed with a severe mental illness (SMI) would typically be seen in the Concurrent Disorders program.

An individual and/or family can become a client of the Youth and Family program via a self-referral, an internal transfer, or from an external 3rd party (e.g. schools, lawyers, community agencies, health practitioners, concerned family members, etc.).  The program is voluntary, and therefore the individual being referred must give consent and take ownership of the process for themselves, starting at the Intake level.

Youth aged 12 and up can consent to confidential counselling services without anyone else’s knowledge or consent; however, if the youth is less than 16 years of age, the counsellor will discuss with the youth at the earliest opportunity the potential of involving the youth’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s).  This is in accordance with Ontario’s Child and Family Services Act, R.S.O. 1990, Chapter C.11.

Population Served

The Youth and Family Program is a counselling program that provides intensive support to individuals who are 12 to 24 years old in the York Region who struggle with substance (alcohol or drug) abuse or dependence issues.

The Parent Group

This is an eight-week, closed group for parents to meet with others around their youth’s substance use.  It includes topics such as:

  • Factors that influence substance use
  • Healthy communication
  • Parenting strategies
  • Self-care
  • YouthSpeak (guest speakers) –

Intake and pre-group meeting with a counsellor are required.

To access this service:
Contact an Intake Coordinator at 905-841-7007 ext 322
or 1-800-263-2288 ext. 322
Monday 9am - 5pm
Tuesday - Thursday 9am - 7pm
Friday 9am - 4:30pm

The following groups can be accessed through the Youth and Family Program:

Who We Help

We offer services to youth age 12-24, their families and parents. You may be referred by:

  • Self-referred
  • Guidance counsellors
  • Family members
  • Parents
  • Schools
  • Family Doctor
  • Children’s Aid Services
  • Hospitals
  • Treatment programs
  • Probation
  • Courts

How We Help

Our youth program provides:

  • Assessments of your needs
  • Holistic Treatment
  • Biopsychological Treatment (examines the biological, psychological, social and spiritual factors to your addiction)
  • Referrals
  • Consultation – individual, family and group
  • Aftercare

Where We Help

ASYR offers support to all of York Region. Offices can be found in:

  • Keswick
  • Aurora
  • Markham
  • Thornhill