The Pinnacle Program is a joint partnership between the Vancouver Board of Education and
the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD–the Provincial Ministry responsive
for child protection) which provides grades 11 and 12 secondary education for adolescents.
The Pinnacle Program is an innovative educational model that provides low barrier access for
youth who wish to complete their Secondary School Graduation Certificate (Dogwood Diploma
or Adult Dogwood Diploma).
Many of the youth who attend Pinnacle have experienced multiple barriers to completing their
education that include housing instability, little financial support and lack of supportive adult
care providers. In addition, some students have learning or developmental delays, mental health diagnoses, substance misuse or addiction, or have been exposed to trauma such as physical and sexual abuse and witnessing violence.
The purpose of this study is to explore the ways that the inter-agency team creates a supportive, caring and safe environment with students who attend the Pinnacle Program. Using qualitative methods this report documents staff and student’s reflections about the strategies, approaches and philosophies that constitute a supportive model of care.
The “hub” model employed by the Pinnacle Program facilitates relationships between youth service providers and allows for timely communication about the needs of youth. The co-location of services creates low barrier introduction and access to primary and sub-specialty health care. Findings point to the need for more supports to be put in place for youth who are turning 19 and transitioning out of government care. There needs to be strong inter-agency partnerships that can offer a continuum of care to these youth in order to maintain positive gains made through their experiences in the Pinnacle Program.
Principal Investigator: Elizabeth Saewyc, PhD, RN, FSAHM, FCAHSStigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre, UBC School of Nursing
Co-investigators:Genevieve Creighton, PhD Department of Pediatrics, UBC; Susan Shumay, MN, NP BC Children’s Hospital; and Eva Moore, MD, MPHBC Children’s Hospital