an innoVative centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

helping families in ottawa, canada become self-sufficient contributing members of society

The Youville Centre has served the Ottawa Community for over twenty years. We're very proud of our name and our many accomplishments.

The Youville Centre is a charitable organization that receives wide-spread community support.

The Youville Centre is a charitable organization that receives wide-spread community support.

We are very grateful for the generous support and assistance of all our supporters.

Only search the Youville Centre site.

Centre Youville Centre
Ottawa-Carleton Inc.
150 Mann Avenue
Ottawa ON Canada
K1N 8P4

Please e-mail us at:

(613) 231-5150




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Charitable Reg. Number:
11884 8456 RR0001

Youville Centre


Our Student Support Programs

Our Student Support Program team provides programs and services to clients on our waiting list, current students and former students.

Leslie is the Student Support Program Coordinator. Her 2011-2012 team included Jessica, Christine, and Kristina who worked in partnership with the teachers and childcare staff to provide support to our mothers as they study and parent at the same time.Christina provides support to the team and served as our Intake/Discharge/Subsidy coordinator. Caitlin and Shannon, placement students from Algonquin, also provide support to program staff. Jenny is our full-time Mental Health and Addiction Counsellor and she provides confidential, professional, individual and group therapy. With the help of Susie, a placement student from the University of Ottawa, and Kristina who works part-time in Student Support and part-time as a Counsellor, Jenny provides on-site crisis support and counselling to Youville Centre students.

Program Highlights:

We're becoming a child and youth mental health centre: Youville Centre is in the process of becoming an accredited child and youth mental health centre through the Canadian Centre For Accreditation. Mental health and addictions counselling are two of the major services we provide under this program.

Bookmobile Services: The Ottawa Public Library makes it possible for the Bookmobile to come on-site weekly to promote literacy and the use of community resources. Students were able to obtain library cards and borrow resources for themselves and their children. The program also provided opportunity for storytelling and circle time. The services of the bookmobile are also open to the local community.

Breakfast Program: A nutritious breakfast is provided daily before class to promote nutrition and facilitate punctuality and regular attendance. This program is funded by The Ottawa Education Network, Brighter Futures, Bon Appetit Ottawa and an anonymous donor.

Christmas Lunch: This event was sponsored by the parishes of St. Philip, Richmond and St. Clare, Dwyer Hill and anonymous donors, who also provided gifts for our young families.

Our Involvement with our Clients is thorough and Extensive

Intake and Discharge

Intake and discharge procedures are the responsibility of the Student Support Program staff in collaboration with Childcare and Educational staff. Our mothers self-refer or are referred to us by former students, family members, clergy, medical personnel, or guidance and resource teachers.

M.F. McHugh Education Centre has four classrooms serving a total of 48 young mothers at one time. Intake and discharge are ongoing as students enter and leave at various times according to their needs and individual progress. 

Students arrive at varying stages in their high school program, some with no credits, others closer to graduation. The last school year saw a total of 99 students served. A waiting list is maintained and consulted when a spot in the child development becomes available creating a corresponding available spot in the school program. 
Each student follows an Individual Education Plan designed to meet her special learning needs, studies at her own pace, and leaves when credit requirements for an Ontario Secondary Diploma have been achieved or when she turns 21 years of age.

Care and Treatment Services

At the time of intake the Brief Child and Family Phone Interview (BCFPI) is administered by support staff. The BCFPI is a standardized interview tool used by children’s mental health agencies across the province. Last year, the BCFPI was administered to all students entering our program to gather information regarding: common problems of a behavioural and emotional nature; impact of presenting problems on client functioning; risk and protective factors; client functioning; barriers to service utilization; pre-service indicators and outcome estimates. The information gathered made it possible for us to tailor our group and individual programs and services to meet the needs indicated.

The Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS) is a computer-based instrument used by children’s mental health centres and the Ministry of Health. The use of the CAFAS tool is mandated across Ontario. It measures the degree of impairment in youth with emotional, behavioural, psychiatric, psychological, or substance use problems. Cases are then assigned the appropriate level of treatment. We have expanded the use of CAFAS to include all of our clients and have used the information provided to individualize therapeutic care for our clients. All of our SSP staff are trained to administer the CAFAS scale.

Both BCFPI and CAFAS assist us in designing and implementing an Individual Treatment Plan (ITP) for each student to fulfill the care and treatment component of the Youville/McHugh Section 23 partnership. We have implemented an ITP format which is now in use across Eastern Ontario.


As part of the Section 23 / Day Treatment Program, therapeutic intervention is provided in conjunction with educational instruction. Youville Student Support staff offer advice and direction to clients on a daily basis for issues and concerns of a non-mental health nature. Short and long-term individual counselling services, along with outreach and crisis intervention, are provided on-site by accredited counsellors to address more serious mental health or addiction problems.

Each student is appointed a mental health/addiction counsellor on arrival and has at least one visit to discuss personal goal setting. On average, 90% of our mothers avail of these addiction and mental health counselling opportunities on a regular basis. With counsellors on-site five days a week we observed: improved attendance and punctuality; increased student engagement in the school program; increased achievement of academic credits; higher number of successful graduates; fewer crises; and improved problem-solving and self-advocacy skills.

Counselling statistics and outcome tracking indicated the following challenges for our clients: mood and anxiety disorders, severe mental health issues, trauma, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, eating disorders, domestic violence, anger management, low self-esteem, miscarriage/abortion issues, depression, physical and sexual abuse, dysfunctional home environment, isolation and lack of family support.

Sustainable, annualized funding for mental health/addiction counselling is an on-going challenge for Youville Centre. Regular on-site counselling services, available for all clients on a timely basis, are needed to support our mothers and enable them to resolve issues which threaten the success of their education and parenting endeavours. This year funding for addiction counselling from October until March was secured from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care through the Health Canada’s s.t.e.p. Project. We have also been successful in securing funding through a United Way “Turning Lives Around” grant for the next three years. Next year will be our final year for our Ontario Trillium Grant that supports mental health counselling. Thanks to fundraising initiatives as our bi-annual Shepherd’s fashion show, and other donors we are able to continue our current level of counselling services.


Information sessions are an integral part of the student support program. They are presented weekly by former students, guest speakers, and experts in fields of interest to our student mothers. Topics, presentations, workshops and in-services included the following:

Anger/Stress Management
Art and Talk
Career Counselling and Assessment (funded by LEAP)
Eating Disorders
Dental Screening Clinics
Fire Prevention
First Aid and Infant CPR
Healthy Lifestyles
Healthy Relationships
Housing Information
Job Readiness (interview preparation)
Legal and Judicial Information
Nutrition/Collective Kitchen Cooking (funded by ACE Bakery)
Personal Safety/Child Safety
Physical Fitness
Post-secondary Education Assistance (OSAP, college application, resume writing)
Pre-natal Information
Smoking Cessation

Clinics held on-site:

Flu Clinic: This clinic was held to immunize our students, their children, staff, volunteers and any community friends wishing to avail of this opportunity.

Dental Clinic: The City of Ottawa Dental Service Program provided dental hygiene education and screening for students and their children.

Portable Dental Clinic: Dr. Tom Harle and his wonderful group of volunteer dentists and dental hygienists provide dental services to our moms and their children free of charge.

Health Clinic: Last fall, twice a month our clients and their children availed of the services of on-site Nurse Practitioners. This worthwhile clinic enabled our clients to access medical support, otherwise unavailable to them. Unfortunately due to restructuring at Sandy Hill Community Health Centre this clinic is no longer available at Youville. Special thanks are extended to the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre for this valuable past partnership.

Young Women’s Health Clinic – Satellite Site of The Ottawa Hospital: This spring Youville Centre was the very appreciative recipient of a young women’s health clinic sponsored by The Ottawa Hospital. Dr. Tania Dumont, with her nurse, Tammy Hewson, provide our moms with much needed medical services on a bi-monthly basis. Youville Centre staff and students are very excited about this popular new clinic and are grateful to The Ottawa Hospital Board of Directors for approving this initiative.

Healthy Relationships and Violence Awareness: Students and Staff continued to be part of an initiative entitled In Love and In Danger in conjunction with the Ottawa Catholic School Board, the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and Family Services Ottawa. Staff and students should be congratulated on the creation of a powerful video on healthy relationships and its presentation at the In Love and In Danger conference in May.

LEAP Fair: This annual event was hosted by Ontario Works / LEAP (Learning, Earning and Parenting) to provide information and resources to youth accessing government assistance.

Lunch Program: Daily, a subsidized, nutritious lunch is available to our mothers for a nominal fee. Nutrition information, recipes and cooking lessons were spin-offs of this project. An anonymous donor and Bon Appetit Ottawa make it possible to offer lunch to moms.

Nutrition and Cooking Classes: Grants from ACE Bakery, Bon Appetit Ottawa and an anonymous donor made it possible for us to provide nutrition education to our students. We were also able to provide for “Mom & Me” cooking lessons in our kitchen classroom. Moms were able to prepare take-home food for their evening meal along with an additional meal for the fridge or freezer. Field trips were taken to local grocery stores such as Loblaws to promote economical grocery selections, how to choose healthy snacks, and other cooking hints. Special mention and thanks are extended to our “guest chefs” who made invaluable authentic contributions to our program.

University Student Placements: As part of their studies, nursing students from the University of Ottawa selected Youville for practicum placement. This year’s area of focus was nutrition. Nursing students held large and small group workshops for staff and students regarding healthy eating as related to requirements in The Canada Food Guide and the wise purchasing of food by reading labels. Many useful resources were provided to our moms.