2022 Edition

Youth Independent Living Services (CA-YIL) 3: Intake and Assessment

The organization’s intake and assessment practices ensure that youth receive prompt and responsive access to appropriate services.




Young adults who receive Youth Independent Living Services obtain safe and stable housing, develop life skills and competencies including work readiness, achieve educational and financial growth goals, and establish healthy, supportive adult and peer relationships.
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
  • In a few rare instances, urgent needs were not prioritized; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Culturally responsive assessments are 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
  • Urgent needs are often not prioritized; or 
  • Services are frequently not initiated in a timely manner; or
  • Applicants are not receiving referrals, as appropriate; or 
  • Assessment and reassessment timeframes are often missed; or
  • Assessments are sometimes not sufficiently individualized; 
  • Culturally responsive assessments are not the norm, and this is not being addressed in supervision or training; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent; or
  • Intake or assessment is done by another organization or referral source and no documentation and/or summary of required information is present in case record. 
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.,
  • There are 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
  • Screening and intake procedures
  • Assessment procedures
  • Copy of assessment tool(s)
  • Strategies for engaging youth
  • Community resource and referral list
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Youth
  • Review case records


CA-YIL 3.01

The organization partners with community entities and providers to:
  1. identify youth with potential need; and
  2. increase youth interest and the likelihood that needed supports and services will be used.


This standard promotes the “no wrong door” concept that youth will not be turned away when a narrow service does not meet comprehensive need. Instead, youth should be engaged at any point of entry and should be referred to or served by an appropriate constellation of providers.


CA-YIL 3.02

Youth are screened and informed about:
  1. how well their request matches the organization’s services; and
  2. what services will be available and when.
NA Another organization is responsible for screening, as defined in a contract.


CA-YIL 3.03

The youth and worker meet within 7-14 days, or within a time period consistent with established program timeframes and guidelines, when a goal changes to independent living or referral.

Fundamental Practice

CA-YIL 3.04

Prompt, responsive, intake practices:
  1. address applicable legal protections for youth;
  2. clarify what youth need and want;
  3. gather information necessary to identify critical service needs and/or to determine if a more intensive service is necessary;
  4. provide the basis for further assessment;
  5. give priority to urgent needs and emergency situations, including health and safety concerns; 
  6. support timely initiation of services; 
  7. determine if youth are eligible to receive services and funding; and 
  8. provide placement on a waiting list or referral to appropriate resources when individuals cannot be served or cannot be served promptly.


CA-YIL 3.05

Prior to or at initiation of services each worker and youth:
  1. confirm the youth’s age and legal status and, as appropriate, obtain necessary, authorized, written approvals for service from a legal guardian;
  2. contact prior placements for confirmation about services the youth may have received, as appropriate; and
  3. arrange to meet where the youth is living so the worker can observe and document if the arrangement is safe, healthy, and provides suitable social, emotional, and physical care and support.


"Legal status” refers to whether youth are in ministry custody or are legally emancipated.


CA-YIL 3.06

The organization plans for, establishes, and maintains stable, on-going, goal directed caseworker-youth relationships with youth who can be unfamiliar with how to seek, accept, and use support.


CA-YIL 3.07

Youth participate in an individualized, culturally and linguistically responsive assessment that is:
  1. completed within established timeframes; 
  2. updated as needed based on the needs of the youth; and
  3. focused on information pertinent for meeting service requests and objectives.


CA-YIL 3.08

Standardized assessment tools are used in conjunction with youth input to identify:
  1. strengths, needs, challenges, and protective factors;
  2. emotional and social competence and current level of peer group and community involvement;
  3. involvement in challenging, interesting activities;
  4. family connections, and relationships with other responsible adults;
  5. availability and use of informal supports;
  6. life skills;
  7. educational status and progress toward achieving an age-appropriate educational level or school completion;
  8. housing; and
  9. physical and mental health care needs.


The Assessment Matrix - Private, Public, Canadian, Network determines which level of assessment is required for COA’s Service Sections. The assessment elements of the Matrix can be tailored according to the needs of specific individuals or service design.