Hispanic Development Council’s Youth and Family Program Supportive Counselling

For the Hispanic Development Council given its experience and expertise in its work with the community, there has been an evolution in its application and support of client needs through 25 years of this program. From an early start in supporting youth, their parents, grandparents, and extended families, the focus has grown increasingly into the field of supportive counselling. This is dedicated today to paying attention to the demands of many of our complex needs as needed by community members.

While counselling at HDC started with youth and many of their challenges in the early nineties, that same reality resulted in its expansion to reach their entire context relating to school, family, and justice system. However, this early intervention logic was the introduction to a much larger problematique which includes issues of marginalization, migration and identity, in addition to the impact of inclusion-exclusion societal attitudes better understood today. As a parenthesis, we should point out that from this type of work is where our early work on matters of power differentials, racialization and anti-oppression work was initiated both as a theoretical construction and practical application. The same evolutionary progression of this constant “praxis” is the one that today has resulted in an emerging source of energy for the attention now directed to the matters surrounding seniors and ageing. (Please refer to specific program)

Today, in the view of the program, the basic tenets of this practice means that the client takes control of the problem, situation and/or need, the client owns the solution, and that clients are the major source of agency. On the other hand, the role of the HDC as an agency is to offer clients of any age non-judgmental attention, empathy and advocacy in response to their feelings and needs.

Crises intervention most often is provided to individuals, family and groups on areas that could include: self-esteem, bullying, family and inter/generational relationships, legal and/or criminal cases. In the case of specific requirements, we also have the capacity to refer clients to specialized services through our contact network which includes social, community agencies and also professionals and institutions working with the community for forty years. Generally speaking the referrals may include topics such as:

Tasks for the short and mid-term:

• Drug addiction and Substance abuse
• Mental Health
• Community Services
• Educational and Vocational resources
•  Abuse
• Other such as benefits and taxation




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