Our Story

PLEA delivers community-based social, health, educational, vocational and justice services to children, youth, families and adults who, during periods of their lives, face significant challenges and barriers. We utilize personally tailored strategies in non-institutional settings to assist individuals to live their lives as normally, successfully, independently and safely, in their own communities, as their personal needs and circumstances allow.

Our employees, family caregivers and volunteer mentors are dedicated to providing those we serve with the best possible service, motivated by the belief that everyone must be supported to succeed to the best of their abilities. Durable relationships are the foundation of all our programs. We accept, without judgment or blame, that the individuals we serve may be reluctant or resistant to accepting our services. We persevere, using engagement strategies that emphasize collaboration, practical assistance and concrete supports, to earn their trust. If an approach is not working, we change it.

PLEA services have their roots in the DARE Program of 1973 – Canada's first intensive community-based support program in the justice system. It emphasized one-to-one work, the importance of adult relationships and mentoring, the principles of resiliency and positive youth development, and learning through activity. We have built on and adapted these core models to a wide range of service needs.

We provide comprehensive residential and non-residential services in the community, working with the youth justice, child welfare, addictions, health and community living systems. Our services are intensive, holistic, flexible and outreach oriented; they are individually tailored to personal goals, developmental needs and circumstances. We are known for creative program development, effective service delivery, strong community roots and good outcomes for the individuals we serve. Our services are supported by research and evidence-based best practice.

Our services are accountable to various authorities; we ensure that we meet their expectations. We maintain close, cooperative working relationships with funding authorities; and those who refer to us, including families, probation officers, social workers, drug and alcohol counsellors, health authorities, and others. We participate fully in integrated case management.

Our 510 employees, family caregivers and volunteer mentors together work with a large caseload. In 2013/2014, we worked with 1275 program participants and residents who were represented in 1795 case files.  The average number of cases we worked on each month was 750. Eighty percent of the participants and residents we worked with were youth between 5 and 17 years old.

English remains the primary language spoken by the majority of those we served. Farsi, Chinese and Tagalog were the most common first languages spoken other than English. Approximately 27% of program participants and residents self-identified as Aboriginal.