Youth Forensic Psychiatric Services

Last updated on June 3, 2021

Youth who are in custody or under community supervision may also be referred for mental health assessment and treatment. Usually this is because of:

  • Mental illness or behaviour problems
  • Involvement in violent or sexual offences

In B.C. two types of  Forensic Psychiatric Service are available to youth involved in the criminal justice system.  These are delivered through eight specific outpatient clinics located in B.C.'s major urban centres.

Assessment Services

One half of referrals for assessment services are court-ordered.  Medical, psychiatric or psychological assessments (called “forensic assessments”) are sometimes ordered by the court to help with sentencing.  A forensic assessment is different from other kinds of psychiatric or psychological assessments because:

  • The goal is to provide a medical, psychiatric or psychological assessment to help the court make a decision – the primary purpose is legal, not medical or psychological
  • There is no therapeutic relationship between the psychologist or physician and the young person

The other half of Assessment referrals are made by probation officers and/or custody services to either assist in case management or help determine treatment goals.

Treatment Services

Mental health professionals deliver a number of treatment services in B.C. to youth who suffer from a mental illness. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Medication
  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy
  • Functional family therapy
  • General mental health services

Specialized treatment is also available to youth who have been convicted of sexual or violent offences and are at risk of repeating their behaviour.  These services are also available by referral or court order. All are offered at outpatient clinics or youth custody centres.

Additional Mental Health Services

The Burnaby Inpatient Assessment Unit (IAU) is a is a Youth Forensic Psychiatric Service that doubles as a mental health facility and a  place of temporary custody that provides:

  • Assessment and treatment services for troubled youth when a court orders it
  • Short-term care and custody of young people found not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder, or not fit to stand trial

The Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre is an accredited facility that offers specialized programs and services to address the needs of young people (aged 12 to 17 years old) who have a lot of mental health concerns or troubling behaviour. Please note that The Maples does not provide emergency or acute psychiatric care – visit your local hospital for help in these situations.

Contact information

Provincial Program Support & Administration
7900 Fraser Park drive
Burnaby, B.C. V5J 5H1
236 468-3095

Inpatient Assessment Unit (IAU)
7900 Fraser Park Drive
Burnaby, B.C. V5J 5H1
778 452-2235