Many at-risk youth are connected or should be connected with the Ministry of Children and Family Development. If you have reason to believe a child or youth is at risk you are responsible for making a child protection report.
The local Abbotsford MCFD Office Numbers are:
MCFD: (604) 870-5880
After-Hours (604) 660-8180
For Aboriginal Children and Youth:
Fraser Valley Aboriginal Children and Family Services Society: (604) 855-3328
Services offered at MCFD, in one location, relevant to sexually exploited youth:
- Child Protection
- Youth Team
- Youth Justice (Youth Probation)
- Child and Youth Mental Health
Services that may be offered:
Family Support Services
Youth at-risk of sexual exploitation often come from families struggling with poverty, lack of parenting skills, substance misuse issues, and increased incidence of violence and neglect. Providing families with support is one means of preventing later exploitation of children and youth. Family support services that may be offered are:
- Parent-teen mediation
- Parenting groups (both support and skill development)
- Family outreach and support workers
- Referrals for counselling
- Referrals for addictions services
Voluntary Care Agreements and Temporary Care Agreements
- A child or youth may be temporarily placed into MCFD foster care to give the family an opportunity to address the concerns with the child/youth being cared for by an outside support. These agreements are used under a variety of circumstances such as parent-teen conflict in the home or if the parent is unable to care for the child due to their own circumstances.
When a social worker has determined a youth is unable to live at home, a youth agreement may be offered. A Youth agreement is a legal agreement between a youth and the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). The purpose of the agreement is to help youth gain independence, return to school, and/or gain work experience and life skills, and protect their rights to be:
· protected from abuse, neglect or harm
· to be healthy and independent
· given guidance by a parent or adult
· supported in your cultural identity
· supported to make safe, healthy choices, and
· helped to gain self-confidence.
The ministry may be able to help provide support if the youth is:
· 16, 17, or 18 years old;
· or the youth cannot return home to family for reasons of safety;
- or there is no other parent or person willing to take responsibility for the youth
How does it work?
· The agreement lets youth live independently.
· It helps youth gain skills and experience so they can continue to live independently.
· It gives youth access to supports and services to help cope with alcohol or drug problems or mental health issues.
· It lends support to help you strengthen relationships with friends and family.
The agreement may help you with:
· a place to live
· your physical and mental health
· your education, and
· managing your money effectively.
Important information for Professionals regarding Youth Agreements and Planning with Youth:
- Do not promise or suggest a Youth Agreement to at-risk youth you work with. Social workers need to properly assess based on a multitude of factors. Refer youth to MCFD or Aboriginal Delegated Agency if you believe their safety is at risk for any reason.
- Social worker's are looking to see if youth are able to make some responsible choices or follow goals and a plan. If you suspect a youth might be a fit for a youth agreement, work with them on goals that would demonstrate responsibility.