18 April 2018

In Canada, it is more likely for youth in care to end up in the youth justice system than to graduate high school – even more so when the youth are African-Canadian or Indigenous. In an opinion piece published by Policy Options on 18 April 2018 as part of the special feature “Widening the Lens on Criminal Justice Reform,” 2014 Foundation scholar Melanie Doucet and Harisson (Harri Sun) Pratt demonstrated how the phenomenon of “crossover youth” – young adults involved in both the child protection and criminal justice systems – is largely attributable to the criminalization of behavioural problems, themselves rooted in the dehumanizing experiences of the child welfare system. To break the cycle for “crossover youth” at the systemic level, Doucet and Pratt argued for a restorative justice approach: based on Indigenous justice themes of community healing, mediation and resolution, this holds much more potential for resilience and change than punitive approaches.

Melanie Doucet is a 2014 Foundation scholar and a doctoral student in social work at McGill University and Université de Montréal. Read her article here.

Melanie Doucet

She is analyzing the social and health services that youth receive from the Child Protection System to propose ways to improve them.

2014 Scholars