Youth arrived in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside (DTES) from Saskatchewan and when outreach first had contact, youth reported to be a 21 year old, First Nations woman. While Watari’s Eastside Integrated Youth Outreach Team was relationship-building with youth it was found out that she was 17 years old. When in the DTES, youth stayed at several different places; with boyfriends in Single Room Occupancies (SRO( and finally with her brother in the Regent Hotel.
After breaking up with one of her boyfriends, youth was upset and stated that she would maybe like to go and stay with her father in Calgary. Our Outreach Team ran with that and encouraged youth to go into MCFD Vancouver Youth Services to see about getting repatriated to Calgary. Outreach team members Sandy, Laura and Mich all offered to go and support the youth with this matter.
The Outreach Team, along with case manager Saskia and Vancouver Youth Services did case-management planning around how to get youth to Calgary. However the youth did not want to speak to any social workers, so that plan did not work out. After doing more case planning, the Outreach Team and Saskia came up with a plan to phone the youth’s Indian Band to see if they could help with the repat to Calgary. Mich then made contact with the band and they were willing to pay for the youth to be repatriated to her home community in Saskatchewan and not just to Calgary. The band needed a few things in place first, such as confirmation of a safe place to come home to, and that the youth really did want to come back to Saskatchewan. Saskia phoned and talked with an Auntie of the youth and found out that she would take in the youth and that it was a safe place. Mich, Laura and Saskia were phoning the band daily with the things that needed to be in place first.
It was really helpful to have different team members working on different days to call the band and to keep in contact with the youth daily. During this planning stage, Outreach Team members Mich, Sandy and Laura set up a daily meeting time and place where team members would meet with the youth to keep her updated. This also was a good way to keep her motivated to go back to her home communtity. The daily check-in’s were also important because the youth’s substance abuse was increasing and the team knew that she had great supports back in Saskatchewan; that had set up planning for school and a healthier life style. After everything was set up for the youth to be repatriated back to Saskatchewan, the day came when Mich and Sandy took the youth to the bus depot and waited until she was on the bus and it pulled away from the bay.
The youth knew Mich, Sandy and Laura and felt comfortable meeting with us all. During the process of having the youth repatriated, everything went well because the lines of communication between the youth and the Outreach Team were seamless and open. When the youth arrived in Saskatchewan, she let the Outreach Team know via Facebook that she arrived safely.