Forensic Mental Health

At Kinark, we strive to provide the best treatment and service for some of the most complex and challenging children and youth from across the province.

Kinark provides court-ordered assessment, intensive treatment and re-integrative services to youth who have significant mental health issues who are:

  • in conflict with the law;
  • at risk of harm to themselves or others where no less intrusive program is appropriate; and
  • found to be not criminally responsible or unfit to stand trial due to the nature of their mental illness.

Kinark also offers intensive programs that treat youth at home and in the community. Alternative to custody programs for youth in conflict with the law who are at risk of becoming serious offenders are offered in various service areas.

Admission is guided by federal and/or provincial legislation. Clients are referred to these services through a court process.

“Recidivism rates among juvenile justice youth who received treatment are as much as 25 per cent lower than the rates of those teens in untreated control groups. The best research-based programs, however, can reduce recidivism rates even more – from 25 to 80 percent.” – CMHO 2010

Forensic Mental Health

Secure Treatment

The Secure Treatment Program is a provincial resource and is mandated by the Child and Family Services Act. There are at least 8 beds designated for children and youth with significant mental illness who are found to be at significant risk of harm to self or others where no less intrusive program is appropriate. Clients are admitted through the Family Courts from all regions of the province. The average stay is 6 to 12 months. This program is offered at Syl Apps Youth Centre.

Ontario Review Board

The Secure Treatment Program is designated as a hospital to maintain clients under the Ontario Review Board – youth who have committed an offence but have been determined by the courts to be not criminally responsible for their actions or deemed unfit to stand trial due to the nature of their mental illness. Kinark is the only facility in Ontario designated for this youth population. The average stay is 18 months. This program is offered at Syl Apps Youth Centre.

Youth Justice

Intensive Support & Supervision Program

The Intensive Support and Supervision Program (ISSP) is an intensive, treatment-focused, community-based, alternative to custody for youth in conflict with the law who have significant mental health issues. The ISSP program is delivered in York, Peel, Halton, Dufferin, and Simcoe.

Each youth will have a treatment team which includes a therapist, community support worker, psychologist, and psychiatrist.

  • The therapist provides intensive evidence-based cognitive-behaviour therapy formulated to specifically target the youth’s mental health and criminogenic needs.
  • The community support worker focuses on required community support needs, life skills, and self-management strategies that will help the youth productively participate in community life.
  • The psychologist and psychiatrist provide comprehensive risk, mental health, and diagnostic assessments and also provide ongoing consultation and medication management.

Our Goals

The goals of the ISSP program are to:

  • reduce criminal recidivism;
  • achieve a comprehensive and integrated understanding of the youth’s strengths and areas of challenge;
  • provide intensive, individualized, evidence-based interventions targeting the complex mental health and criminogenic needs of the youth;
  • strengthen the physical, emotional, and psychological well-being of the youth and their caregivers and
  • advocate for and refer the youth and families to appropriate community support services.

Who is eligible?

The eligibility criteria for youth to access ISSP include the following:

  • youth, male or female, 12-17 years old at the time of the offence;
  • based on the nature or seriousness of the offence, the youth could receive a custody disposition;
  • youth has a diagnosed or significant mental health need (e.g., mood/anxiety disorder, trauma-related disorder, self-harm or suicidal ideation, psychotic-spectrum disorder, substance-use disorder, developmental delay) demonstrated within a recent court-ordered Section 34 assessment;
  • youth voluntarily consents to actively participate in the program;
    youth resides in our service area in a permanent, or semi-permanent, living situation;
  • the youth can be safely supervised in the community;
  • there are current and/or historical indicators of the youth’s capacity to function in the community and
  • there are current and/or historical indicators of the youth’s responsiveness to therapeutic intervention.


Referrals to the Kinark ISSP can be made by Probation Services in the following Regions:

  • Halton
  • Dufferin
  • Peel
  • York
  • Simcoe

Referrals require a recent psychological and/or psychiatric assessment report, ordered by the youth court under Section 34 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, a completed ISSP referral form, and the Pre-Sentence Report, if available.

Once a referral is made, Kinark will conduct a suitability assessment to ensure the eligibility criteria for participation are met. We strive to complete this assessment within two to three weeks, after receiving all referral documentation.

Eligible youth will then require participation in ISSP, identified as a condition of his/her probation order.

Phone: 905-713-0700
Fax: 905-713-0045
Email: ISSP@kinark.on.ca
Address: 218 Earl Stewart Drive, Unit 7
Aurora, ON  L4G 6V7