How we work

Intake Process

The first step to becoming involved with AY is to meet with a therapist and participate in an intake session. An intake session is completed in person and takes approximately one hour. The purpose of an intake session is for our therapist to gather information about the youth’s past and current health and substance use as well as readiness for change. In addition, our services will be described in detail. Parents or caregivers and other support persons are encouraged to attend the first session with the youth.


Over a period of several appointments, an initial assessment will be completed with the youth which will include gathering of information, monitoring of youth’s substance use, provision of feedback on the impact of substance use on the youth’s life and development of a treatment plan.

Individual treatment

Individualized, client directed treatment is provided to youth to assist them in exploring the underlying reasons for engaging in substance use, in reducing or discontinuing use, relapse prevention and/or referral to residential treatment, and includes comprehensive education about the risks related to youth substance use. Parents/caregivers and other family members (as defined by the youth) are encouraged to participate in the youth’s treatment.

Your Rights, Our Responsibilities

With Alternatives for Youth you can expect a positive, recovery-oriented experience that is strength-based and inclusive. Our services use treatment approaches that are modelled after best practices in substance use and addiction.

Download the Rights and Responsibilities Agreement here

Privacy Notice

Collection of Personal Health Information

We collect personal health information about you directly from you or from the person acting on your behalf. The personal health information that we collect may include, for example, your name, date of birth, address, health history, record of your visits to Alternatives for Youth (AY) and the support you received during those visits. Occasionally, we collect personal health information about you from other sources if we
have obtained your consent to do so or if the law permits us to do so. We make sure that only those people who need to see your personal records are allowed to look at them. We protect your information through our administrative policies and by adopting appropriate safeguards and security measures.

Use and Disclosure of Personal Health Information

We may use or disclose your personal health information to:

  • communicate with your various health care providers including your family physician and/or other health care institutions for continuity of care, in order to treat/support and care for you (unless you tell us otherwise);
  • plan, administer and manage our internal operations, and conduct risk
    management activities;
  • conduct quality improvement activities (such as sending client satisfaction surveys);
  • teach, conduct research (only under strict rules overseen by a research ethics board) and compile statistics;
  • support your care across multiple health care organizations via shared
    electronic health systems;
  • comply with legal and regulatory requirements;
  • fulfill other purposes permitted or required by law.We can assure you that only staff who need your personal health information for direct care, administrative purposes to assist in providing you care, or otherwise as permitted or required by law, are authorized to access your record of personal health information. A client’s instruction cannot prevent us from recording information that is required by law, professional standards or our practice.

To Access or Correct Your Information

If you believe a record of personal health information held by AY is inaccurate or incomplete, you may make a written request for correction.

How to Handle a Privacy Breach
A privacy breach is when the personal health information in AY’s care is stolen, lost, or there is unauthorized use, or disclosure. This includes unauthorized copying, modification, or disposal. It also includes viewing your information that one does not have authority to view.

AY will ensure that the personal health information in its custody or control is protected against theft, loss, unauthorized use, or disclosure and to ensure that the records containing the information are protected against unauthorized copying, modification, or disposal. In the event there is a privacy breach AY will notify you and, when required, the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

If an employee of AY has committed a privacy breach, AY will notify any association regulated under the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) that the employee is a member of (e.g. Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario). AY will also take appropriate action as defined in its policy manual.

When I come to AY I feel listened to, respected, no judgement