Program Overview – Free 2 Be (Housing First for Youth Leaving Care), Community Programs

WoodGreen’s Free 2 Be program is an evidenced-based, youth informed program that has been intentionally designed to help young people with lived experience of the child welfare system thrive in their transitional years. What sets Free 2 Be apart is the intensity and breadth of the program which takes a trauma-informed youth development approach, and which supports positive long-term outcomes for a demographic of young people that have not historically had dedicated housing or extensive community-based supports following their transitions out of care. Free 2 Be offers a variety of services including housing support, rent supplements, life skills, academic upgrading, employment opportunities, mental health support, and more, building on new and existing WoodGreen services and through meaningful collaboration and partnerships in Toronto.

What You Will Do

Act as a positive role model, mentor, and support for young people leaving the child welfare system as they transition into the Free 2 Be (Housing First for Youth) program.

Initiate, develop and maintain trusting relationships with applicants and program participants (ages 17-24 at intake), including creating a positive, welcoming environment.

Working within a Housing First Framework for Youth, provide young people with assistance securing and maintaining safe, appropriate housing.

Use professional case management practices and a variety of clinical modalities to offer orientation sessions, assessments, goal setting, co-creation of attainable action plans, strategizing with young people, advocacy and assisting participants in self-advocacy, ongoing support, re-assessment, exit planning and after care.

Accompany participants to appointments as needed and/or provide support facilitating access to resources and opportunities (e.g. education, mental health and wellness services, financial empowerment services, benefits through Continued Care and Support for Youth, Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program, etc.).

Address serious behaviour, mental health, emotional, and addictions issues through a harm reduction lens, supportive relationships, brief counselling and defusing/managing critical incidents.

Maintain organized case notes and documentation, tracking data and outcomes.

Maintain strong referral relationships with frontline staff at children’s aid societies, youth shelters, and other organizations.

Assist young people with building and accessing community support networks.

Facilitate skills development training and/or arrange for impactful guest presenters.

Work with Free 2 Be team and colleagues across different units to ensure program success while positively contributing to WoodGreen as an organization.

What You Bring to the Team

Masters in Social Work required.

Registered Social Worker (RSW) in good standing with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW).

At least three (3) years of direct experience working with marginalized young people a must (e.g. young people who have experienced the child welfare system, homelessness, mental health challenges and/or addictions, employment challenges, etc.).

What Will Set You Apart

This position requires a strong understanding of the vulnerability and resiliency faced by young people transitioning out of care, and the experiences of stigma attached to race, age, sexuality and gender, and the associated risks of homelessness that often follow. Those with lived experience of one or several of these dynamics are highly encouraged to apply.

Extensive understanding of trauma informed care and harm reduction principals.

Demonstrated client focussed counselling skills and role modelling.

Excellent communication skills and the ability to be adaptable with a flexible approach taking into consideration the unique qualities of each client.

Exceptional interpersonal skills that promote positive team building, negotiation and conflict resolution.

A broad knowledge of community resources and the ability to strongly advocate for clients and professional referrals.

Understanding of Housing First for Youth, tenants’ right, housing supports, financial support and other housing resources is considered a strong asset.

Effective communication (oral and written), documentation and computer skills.

Demonstrated intervention skills, including crisis intervention (Non-Violent Crisis Intervention or Managing Hostile Interacting Certificate a strong asset).

Knowledge and cultural humility to issues of a diverse clientele.

Valid first aid certificate is considered an asset.

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How to Apply

Please email your cover letter and resume to EWexler@woodgreen.org.

About WoodGreen Community Services

Who We Are

A United Way Anchor Agency, WoodGreen combines significant scale and a proven track record with an entrepreneurial mindset, continuously seeking and developing innovative solutions to critical social needs.

Now in our 81st year, we are one of the largest social service agencies in Toronto, serving 37,000 people each year.  We’re a group of diverse individuals who value respect, excellence, compassion, integrity, and team work.