2022 Edition

Youth Custody Services (CA-YCS) 13: Living and Service Environment

Youth reside and receive services in safe, appropriate settings that meet their basic needs.




Youth Custody Services promote public safety by providing youth with a supportive, structured setting that helps them address their needs and develop the attitudes and skills needed to make responsible choices, avoid negative behaviours, and become productive, connected, and law-abiding citizens.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
No Self-Study Evidence
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Youth served and their families
  • Observe program site

Fundamental Practice

CA-YCS 13.01

The organization meets youths’ basic needs by providing:
  1. rooms that are large enough to allow for comfortable movement during in-room activities;
  2. appropriate sleeping accommodations, including a clean, covered mattress, a pillow, and sufficient clean linens and blankets;
  3. sufficient access to facilities and supplies for toileting, bathing, and personal hygiene; and
  4. clean and appropriate clothing.


CA-YCS 13.02

Sufficient and appropriate space, materials, and furnishings are available for:
  1. dining;
  2. exercise;
  3. on-site services, including treatment, education, and other programming;
  4. recreation and leisure;
  5. visits with family members;
  6. meetings with attorneys and other professionals;
  7. administrative support functions, food preparation, housekeeping, laundry, maintenance, and storage, including storage of personal items youth are not permitted to keep in their living space; and
  8. meeting the needs of on-duty personnel, including private sleeping accommodations for personnel who sleep at the facility, if applicable.


CA-YCS 13.03

The living and service environments are:
  1. homelike and non-institutional, to the extent possible and appropriate; and
  2. sensitive to and supportive of youth regardless of their age, developmental level, language, disability, gender and gender identity, culture, ethnic heritage, religion, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation.
Examples: Organizations may strive to make the environment homelike and non-institutional by, for example, allowing youth to personalize their sleeping areas and contribute to decisions about how to make living areas comfortable and reflective of youths’ interests and diversity.


CA-YCS 13.04

The organization allows for privacy in bathrooms and sleeping areas, to the extent possible and appropriate.