John Howard Society of Ottawa

Prevention & Intervention

Choices School-Based Prevention Program

This project is in partnership with the Ottawa Catholic School Board, and is funded in part from our community partners: Community Foundation of Ottawa and Catholic Education Foundation of Ottawa. This program began as a two-year pilot project, funded through Crime Prevention Ottawa. Due to the program’s continued success, Choices has expanded into our fifth year of implementation and now services two inner city Ottawa schools.

Recognizing the importance of education in supporting a young person away from potential involvement in the justice system, this program takes place on school property. Programming for both males and females at the junior level of high school supports their learning and development in three distinct areas: attitudes, values and beliefs; peers and relationships; and, social skills.

For more information on this project, or to bring this programming to your school, contact: Jessica Race, Coordinator – Community Services for Youth
jrace@jhsottawa.ca

Diversion Services

This programming is provided in partnership with the Ottawa Community Youth Diversion Program, operated through the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa.

Gender-specific groups focusing on peer influences and healthy relationships, and the role of thoughts and thinking in risky and criminal behaviour, support youth ages 12 to 17 in being accountable for actions that have brought them to the attention of police and the courts.

Contact: Jessica Race, Coordinator – Community Services for Youth jrace@jhsottawa.ca

And, for more information on the Ottawa Community Youth Diversion Program, visit bgcottawa.org

Non-Residential Attendance Centre

The Non-Residential Attendance Centre (NRAC) is a non-custodial sentencing option as identified in the Youth Criminal Justice Act, and part of a continued plan from the Youth Justice Division of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to decrease reliance on custody, and further intensive community-based interventions.

The goal of this program is to reduce offending behaviour by targeting specific risks demonstrated by youth through intensive counselling and programming. This program is intended for moderate- to high-risk youth who require intervention in multiple criminogenic need areas.

Youth Justice Probation Officers are the sole referral source to NRAC. They refer youth to NRAC under a general counselling condition or a specific court-ordered NRAC condition.

Youth involved with NRAC are assigned a counsellor for individual work and attend group programming that targets the factors placing them at greatest risk to re-offend.

Programming for males includes:

  • Antisocial attitudes, values and beliefs
  • Anger and aggression
  • Cognitive and social skills
  • Drug and alcohol use

  • Antisocial peers and other unhealthy influences
  • Intimate partner relationships
  • Independent living skills
  • Education, employment, and connection to recreational/leisure activities


In March 2008, NRAC became the first Canadian pilot site for a new and comprehensive gender-responsive curriculum for justice-involved girls and young women. Girls . . . Moving On is programming that reflects the most of what is known, and the best of what is believed, to impact their involvement in the justice system. For information about Girls . . . Moving On, including philosophy, guiding principles and content, follow this link:

Beginning in 2009, the Youth Justice Division of the Ministry of Children and Youth has undertaken a province-wide implementation and evaluation of Girls . . . Moving On. NRAC is one of many sites, including both custodial and non-custodial settings in all regions of Ontario, participating in this large-scale project.

NRAC operates in two locations, one central for youth living in east and central Ottawa and another in the west end for youth living west of downtown.

Contact: Jessica Race, Coordinator – Community Services for Youth
Email: jrace@jhsottawa.ca

Saint John Bosco Achievement Centre (JBAC)

The Saint John Bosco Achievement Centre (JBAC) is a program provided in partnership with the Ottawa Catholic School Board and youturn Youth Support Services). Our shared vision is to provide a unique and specialized educational program to justice-involved youth that matches their needs and complexities.

The goal of this program is to reduce youths’ risk of ongoing and future involvement in the justice system by supporting their education achievement and, subsequently, their vocational interests and success; and, increasing their participation in positive and structured activities. These are two areas in which these youth have typically experienced significant struggles.

The program staffing model, supported financially through the Ottawa Catholic School Board and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, includes one full-time teacher and one full-time youth counsellor. JBAC is affiliated with Immaculata High School.

Program overview:

  • A flexible schedule that provides the opportunity to attend school up to four days per week, for up to two hours per day, as determined by what’s realistic for each youth
  • Support in the development and achievement of meaningful goals for each youth’s academic, vocational, personal and social success
  • Achievement of actual high school credits toward a diploma

  • Prompts for consistent attendance, including assistance with transportation
  • A relaxed, welcoming, engaging classroom experience for up to just six youth at a time
  • Healthy meals and snacks on-site
  • Attention, concentration, participation and safety fostered by gender-specific time blocks


Youth must already be involved in the services of youturn or JHS’s Attendance Centre or residential programs to have access to JBAC. On occasion, as spots are available, Youth Justice Probation Officers may also make referrals.

Contact: Jessica Race, Coordinator – Community Services for Youth
Email: jrace@jhsottawa.ca

On Point Program (GPIP)

John Howard Society (JHS) of Ottawa and youturn Youth Support Services have partnered to address youths’ pathways to involvement in gang-related crime by providing evidence-based, gender-responsive supports and services to youth aged 12 to 20, and their families, living in Ottawa, Russell County and Rockland.

Prevention Services
JHS Ottawa is focussed on the prevention of gang involvement through individual counselling and group programming on topics such as healthy relationships with peers and important others, connections to family and community, the role of thoughts and thinking in risky behaviour, skills that promote self-respect and regard for others, use of free time, and opportunities for education and/or employment.

Our partner agency, youturn, offers Collaborative Problem Solving Parent Group Therapy. This is an eight-week program that supports parents in improving relationships with their children and decreasing challenging behaviours. Such positive changes, together with specific support to parents, offer their children some protection from involvement in gangs and other high-risk activities.

Intervention Services
Please go to our partner agency’s website for information about their intensive services to youth who are involved in or vulnerable to gangs, and their families: www.youturn.ca/supporting-families

For more information, please contact Jessica Race, Coordinator – Community Services for Youth
Phone: 613.769.3638
Email: jrace@jhsottawa.ca
Paper referrals can be faxed to 613.828.2683 using the referral form

Time For Change

Time for Change (T4C) is an initiative dedicated to male and female young adults, adults and their families who are impacted by gang involvement.

  • T4C Supports & Services
  • Education & Training: marketable skills
  • Employment: job-readiness & placements
  • Safety & Stability: security of self & income to meet individual/ family needs
  • Housing: stability & satisfaction
  • Counselling & Health Services: access, options, sensitivity
  • Family Reunification: resources for relationships
  • Community Engagement: cultural, spiritual, & religious support
  • Mentorship: access to knowledge, situations, or networks

This project operates in partnership with Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO), Youturn youth support services, and is funded by the City of Ottawa in partnership with Crime Prevention Ottawa (CPO).

For more information, please contact Haleigh Guest,T4C Project Lead
Phone: 613.789.7418.
Email: hguest@jhsottawa.ca
Handouts: T4C For Professionals, T4C For Individuals