Brant Youth and Family Engagement

As the Lead Agency for the Moving on Mental Health initiative for Brantford/Brant, Woodview is committed to engaging with youth and families in our community to create meaningful change to children’s mental health services in Brant.

The New Mentality defines youth engagement as “empowering all youth as valued partners in addressing, and making decisions about issues that affect them personally and/or that they believe to be important” (Pereira, N., 2007).

The goal of our youth and family engagement framework considers youth and families as equal partners in the co-creation of the programs and services that they use. It also includes partnering with youth and families in a variety of ways to transform the children’s mental health system in Brant.

We are fortunate to have our youth-led engagement group Fortitude Youth Initiative (FYI) that meets twice a month to provide feedback, advocate, create events and initiatives that matter to them. Learn more about Youth Engagement at Woodview.

We have also established our Engagement Network which includes voices from individuals, families and youth in projects, policy and co-creation of programs and services.

We have heard the youth, implemented change, and reported back to evaluate our success and opportunities for growth. It has been an extremely exciting journey to work with the youth, to hear their perspectives, to see them excel in their areas of strength, and learn from their lived experience. Youth have valuable insight and creative ways to solving problems.

This work has led to measurable change in the way we offer services, our hours, types of services, locations and has led to the creation of a second Brantford space in downtown Brantford called, Woodview in the Square. Want to know more about this space? Visit for more information.

Evidence shows that programs and services co-created with youth and families are more likely to have better outcomes for both service users and providers. Engagement practices help organizations to move from a provider perspective to an invested partnership philosophy. This helps to embed the culture of engagement into the heart of an organization.

This is an exciting journey, and we are just getting started.

Woodview Engagement Logo
Nicki Straza

If you’d like to get in touch, please reach out!

Nicki Straza
Engagement Lead
Woodview Mental Health & Autism Services