Welcome parents, clinicians, and referral sources.

We are happy to share some foundational information we hope will help you understand more about our services.

Venture Academy was established as Canada’s first and premier, private, direct access, adolescent residential program, operating treatment centers in both central and western Canada.

Since 2001, Venture Academy has been providing assessment, treatment and educational support services for struggling teens suffering from mental health issues, substance use and other critical challenges.

The organization has served over 1,500 youth and families from every corner of the country and internationally.

We offer short-term intervention with a focus on assessment and stabilization as well as longer-term treatment focused on sustainable change and positive treatment outcomes.

Please click on any of the headings below to find out more.

Mission, Values, Vision

Mission: To provide exceptional treatment for adolescents and families who are faced with mental and behavioral health challenges.

Values: To be the Canadian leader in providing a continuum of care to support adolescents in sustained recovery and wellness.

Vision: Delivering compassionate, best-practice treatment in a manner that maintains respect, dignity, and individuality of the adolescent and their families.

Who We Treat

Adolescents ages 13-18 from loving families who may be struggling with:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Mood disorders (depression etc.)
  • Family conflict
  • School challenges
  • Learning disabilities
  • Substance abuse
  • High risk or self-destructive behaviour
  • Victims of online or in-person bullying
  • Executive functioning (daily decision) challenges
  • Victims of abuse or trauma
  • Complex challenges and dual diagnoses
  • Other challenging and unsafe behaviors

While VA services are accessible to a diverse client population, our program does not admit youth who are in foster care or under government guardianship.

Treatment Model and Approach

Approach is values-based, family-centred, and solution-oriented.

Clinical and therapy programs are designed to invite positive change, build skills, focus on solutions and re-establish family attachments with parents and the family unit central to our founding mission.

Approach not only moves away from pathology but moves towards a health, wellness, and strengths orientation with a “yes we can” attitude.

Solution-focused interventions seek solutions, are present and future-oriented, and focus on what works in terms of client abilities and resources.

Goals and plans are aimed at supporting youth and families in overcoming struggles and developing and maintaining healthy lifestyles and relationships.

While the underlying foundation to our approach revolves around attachment and the importance of family, in practice, during treatment timeframes, and as clinical needs are determined, approaches with individual clients are applied according to each client’s psychological needs and where they are in the continuum of treatment.

Select or Integrated Modalities:

  • Motivational Interviewing – helping move the client along the continuum of change from denial and resistance (pre-contemplation and contemplation) through to acceptance, readiness and engagement, (preparation, action and sustained success). Commonly utilized at the onset of treatment to assist resistant clients in the process of change.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – focuses on the here-and-now, on the problems that come up in day-to-day life. CBT helps people to examine how they make sense of what is happening around them and how these perceptions affect the way they feel and act. CBT is a practical form of psychotherapy that teaches strategies and skills to make changes in everyday life.
  • Dialectical Behavioural Therapy – often serving persons with out-of-control behavior, clients are taught acceptance and change and that they must make positive changes to manage emotions and move forward. Components include mindfulness, distress tolerance, and emotional regulation.
  • Executive Function Management – practical strategies that assist with poor impulse and emotional control, poor planning and goal setting, disorganization, distractibility, time and task management proficiencies etc. All common issues with our clientele, the modality includes strategies for impulse control, establishing new habits, moving away from short-term temptations, managing intrusive thoughts and distractions.
  • Trauma Informed Practice – strengths-based framework grounded in an understanding of and responsiveness to the impact of trauma / including one time or repeated impactful events and situations. It emphasizes physical, psychological, and emotional safety. This modality is being embraced by the clinical world, even though the client may not have experienced trauma in the commonly understood sense of the word.
  • Other Modalities – as needed and determined.

Interdisciplinary Team

In addition to the Executive Leadership team, Venture Academy employs a variety of team members, each with their own background and skill set, to directly support and treat the often-complex needs of our clients. While every team member has their own role and performs identified duties, team members collaborate and work together supporting one another, supporting the client and family, and working in a coordinated fashion to achieve common goals for the child and family.

Psychologists – for assessment, diagnoses, and recommendations

MSW/RSW – clinical therapists for individual therapy and consultation

BSW / CYW – for frontline intervention, treatment strategies, and group work

Teachers/tutors – specializing in helping students be successful in the classroom

Rec therapists, coaches, instructors – for physical health and well-being

Wellness Home staff/host parents – for healthy role modeling, meals, care, and harmony in a family-like setting

Level of Care Provided

Crisis Intervention – a safe, structured, supportive environment for youth not requiring medical detox or hospitalization.

Chronic Issues – and ongoing challenges that have not been resolved in an outpatient or counselling type environment.

Residential Care – clients are medically stable and can focus on building the skills needed for long-term success and wellness.

When to Admit:

When evaluating the best course of action for an adolescent with mental health challenges, a residential program may come to mind much later in the process of repeated failures and or lack of progress with other services. Often there is an escalation of severity in the child’s behavior, putting him or herself at increased risk of harm and limiting future potential.

While out-patient interventions is nearly always the first step, our program can be accessed at any time and is preferably accessed sooner rather than later in the continuum of challenges.

Our residential treatment program is a place of nourishing positivity and wellness. A place of health and healing and moving forward in a manner that is both nurturing and yet accountable. While our adolescent clients benefit from our program anywhere along their continuum of need, young people are able to more quickly engage in the therapeutic and change process the less severe the emotional and behavioral challenges are. The sooner someone gets into treatment the less time it typically takes to complete the goals and to transition back into the family home.

Keeping Families / Clinicians Connected During Treatment

Some clinicians, referral sources, or funders want to make sure their client can get access to timely and much-needed services and are comforted to know that their client is in good hands. Their part in assisting may be finished after a successful admission, or they may request periodic updates. We work with that.

Yet families, other clinicians, funders, and referral sources often desire more structured and regular communications.

Venture Academy has been implementing a system of weekly communications with parents and other stakeholders as identified for over 20 years. We don’t just report to parents how their child is doing in the program, rather we involve parents in our processes and consider them part of the solution from the beginning and a critical part of their child’s successful return home.

Communications include;

  • Admissions day live reporting to parents regarding their child’s integration into the program
  • 24-hour post-admission (next day) “comfort call” conveying how the first day and night progressed
  • Weekly phone calls with Venture Academy staff gathering more assessment information and reporting how son or daughter is adapting to and engaging in the program
  • Call(s) with VA consulting psychologist regarding psychological assessment information gathering
  • Call with VA consulting psychologist and team regarding assessment results and recommendations
  • Weekly calls regarding the treatment plan, responses to clinical interventions, educational progress, goals identified, outcomes achieved, overall progress and engagement, etc.
  • Written and phone communication between parents and child
  • Family campus visits, home visits, etc. as determined by family and program and clinical staff


In contrast, to congregate care or institutional setting, our approach is to provide small care settings with 2-4 youth per house, with each client having his or her own bedroom. This is known as a “private room” in the health sector. This provides our residents with the space and time to reflect on the day’s events and a level of dignity when it comes to their personal nighttime routines.

Youth attend our campus during the day and reside in one of our wellness homes in the community overnight.

Our residential model results in a tremendous clinical advantage in terms of outcomes and long-term success.

Sample Schedule

7:00 AM: wake up, morning hygiene routines, healthy breakfast.

8:00 AM: day preparedness, executive functioning strategies incl. planning and organization for the day, including school materials, weather-appropriate clothing, lunch prep etc.

8:30 AM: safe, supervised transport to a day treatment center.

8:45 AM: arrival at the campus, receiving and greeting from day treatment staff.

9:00 AM: individual goal setting by each client for the day as per assessment and or treatment plan categories, mindfulness strategies

9:30 AM: academic block, individualized psych-ed strategies, and interventions.

10:15 AM: directed break.

10:25 AM: academic block, individualized psych-ed strategies, and interventions.

11:00 AM: individual therapy.

11:45 AM: supervised lunch – healthy eating and activity, clean up

12:15 PM: academic block, individualized psych-ed strategies, and interventions.

1:00 PM: group therapy or psycho-educational group and/or academics

1:45 PM: call with Mom and /or Dad / academic block

2:30 PM: physical fitness activity/recreation therapy

3:45 PM: organization cleanup

4:00 PM: supervised transportation back to wellness home

4:30 PM: rest downtime or positive activity

5:30 PM: family style dinner

6:30 PM: any after-dinner chores, homework, implementation, or practice treatment strategies

7:00 PM: home-like participation possible outing with wellness home staff, host parents, community activities, etc.

9:00 PM: wind down mindfulness, evening hygiene routines, sleep preparedness routines

10:00 PM: lights out

Outcomes and Results

Outcomes and success rates can be endlessly debated by programs, clinicians, funders, and others. Each stakeholder will have their own mandate, agenda, and ways of viewing the program based on who they are, what their role is, and how they are involved. Do they want societal and systemic change? Do they have a harm reduction or abstinence philosophy? Reduce adolescent hospital visits? Reduce the percentage of overall youth who go into foster care or custody.

At Venture Academy, we have a specific focus on who and what matters most.

“We measure success according to what our clients want to see change for their child & family when they are engaging our program.”

We are a program of choice. Families, clinicians, and referral sources choose our program because someone they love or are involved with are experiencing specific problems and challenges.

Our primary goals are to stop and eliminate problematic, self-destructive, and self-limiting behaviors and to replace those patterns with wellness and more positive and healthy ways of living free of crises and ongoing problems.

Short and long-term outcome areas include:

  • Primary reason(s) for admission
  • Elimination of detrimental behaviours
  • Improved emotional wellness
  • Improved and restored family functioning
  • Better school performance
  • Healthier peer relationships
  • Improved physical health
  • Overall improved quality of life

How we track and measure performance:

  • Participation
  • Treatment plan engagement
  • Clinical and other task tracking
  • Emotional / behavioural changes
  • Educational improvements
  • Emotional improvements
  • Performance surveys
  • Referral source feedback
  • Parent feedback
  • Client feedback