2022 Edition

Youth Custody Services (CA-YCS) 8: Mental Health Services

Youth with mental health conditions receive the appropriate level and intensity of treatment needed to promote rehabilitation.
NA Services are provided via contract, when needed.




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
  • Procedures governing the provision of mental health services
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Youth served and their families
  • Verify employment of qualified mental health professional either directly or via contract
  • Review case records

Fundamental Practice

CA-YCS 8.01

A mental health assessment is conducted within 14 days of admission, and youth with mental health conditions receive diagnoses based on standardized diagnostic tools.


Some organizations may conduct systematic service need screenings to determine when youth are in need of more in-depth assessments. When this is the case these service need screenings should occur within 7-14 days, and further evaluation should be conducted if necessary.
NA The organization provides only remand services.


CA-YCS 8.02

Interventions are appropriate to youths’ needs, and based on evidence or clinical practice guidelines, where they exist.
NA The organization provides only remand services.

Fundamental Practice

CA-YCS 8.03

Treatment services are provided by qualified mental health professionals.


If other personnel provide some aspects of service, they must be trained and supervised by qualified mental health professionals.
NA The organization provides only remand services.

Fundamental Practice

CA-YCS 8.04

When youth receive medications for emotional or behavioural conditions, medication use is:
  1. consistent with the youth’s assessed needs and service plan;
  2. authorized and managed by a board-eligible psychiatrist or another qualified health practitioner; and
  3. monitored for efficacy and side effects.


It is permissible under the standard to use a consulting psychiatrist or a community mental health center for psychiatric consultation, provided that the organization has a formal agreement.

Fundamental Practice

CA-YCS 8.05

In case of emergency, youth have access to mental health services 24 hours a day.


It is permissible to use a local mental health facility for emergency services, provided the organization has a written agreement with the facility.


CA-YCS 8.06

When youth have experienced trauma, the organization provides specialized services and trauma-informed care.

Fundamental Practice

CA-YCS 8.07

To promote the safety of youth at risk of suicide, personnel:
  1. recognize when youth are thinking about suicide;
  2. monitor suicidal youth at a frequency consistent with level of risk;
  3. respond promptly and appropriately to youth who attempt suicide; and
  4. continually supervise youth who attempt suicide until they are assessed by qualified medical and mental health personnel.


CA-YCS 8.08

Youth diagnosed as having co-occurring mental health and substance use conditions receive integrated treatment either directly or through active involvement with a cooperating service provider.
NA The organization provides only remand services.