Active Care Youth and Adult Services
Who We Are
Active Care Youth and Adult Services (ACYAS) is a progressive, innovative organization operating residential resources for youth and adults in British Columbia.
It is our mandate to provide innovative, trauma-informed support services of exceptional quality and to do so in the context of a home environment.
Company History and Scope of Services
In 1989, Ed and Antoinette Smeeton began supporting youth in care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) as foster parents. After caring for many children over a period of 21 years, MCFD quickly recognized the Smeeton’s strength in supporting youth with complex needs. To support the demand for care, Ed and Antoinette expanded their care capacity through hired staff to ensure the supervision needs of the youth were being met. In 2010, Ed and Antoinette opened their first foster home under the newly staffed model, then a second and third foster home shortly thereafter.
In 2016, MCFD further modified the Smeeton’s resource model, resulting in the development of 12 smaller resources supporting youth that had been with them in the larger homes. The expansion of this model offered the youth enhanced personalized care in a one-to-one or two-to-one staffing model. This fundamental change would catapult Smeeton’s from ‘foster parents’ to ‘company and leadership’ with the development of Active Care Youth and Adult Services Ltd (ACYAS).
In February of 2023, ACYAS expanded services, embarking in a partnership with Interior Heath (IH) to support adults in need of housing and reintegration into the community (Complex Care). Currently, Complex Care programs operate in Kamloops and Kelowna.
Today, ACYAS operates in four geographical regions: Kamloops, Vernon, Kelowna, and Terrace, supporting over 30 youth in care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD), Community Living BC (CLBC), and Northwest International Family and Community Services (NIFCS), and 9 adults in Complex Care.
Why We Are Involved
Active Care Youth and Adult Services (ACYAS) recognizes the importance of effecting change and fostering a culture of accessibility and inclusion. In addition to removing barriers for our employees, ACYAS seeks not only to fulfill its legal obligations with respect to the duty to accommodate, but also to create an environment where staff feel valued and equipped to do their best.
In keeping with the requirements defined as part of the Accessible Canada Act, ACYAS is committed to carrying out accessibility practices in recognition of, and in accordance with, the following principles:
(a) all persons must be treated with dignity regardless of their disabilities; and
(b) all persons must have the same opportunity to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have regardless of their disabilities; and
(c) all persons must have barrier-free access to full and equal participation in society, regardless of their disabilities; and
(d) all persons must have meaningful options and be free to make their own choices, with support if they desire, regardless of their disabilities; and
(e) laws, policies, programs, services and structures must take into account the disabilities of persons, the different ways that persons interact with their environments, and the multiple and intersecting forms of marginalization and discrimination faced by persons; and
(f) persons with disabilities must be involved in the development and design of policies, programs, services and structures; and
(g) the development and revision of accessibility standards and the making of regulations must be done with the objective of achieving the highest level of accessibility for persons with disabilities.
In addition to the introduction of a multi-year Accessibility Plan, ACYAS strives to amplify our breadth of knowledge of employer-driven diversity and inclusion best practices. As part of this, our agency is seeking partnerships and information sharing with subject matter experts, such as the Presidents Group.
We recognize the value of enhancing our services through the contributions of a diverse workforce and strive to grow in our understanding and empowerment of others.
ACYAS has recently developed a multi-year Accessibility Plan, identifying and outlining ACYAS’s strategies and specific commitments to remove barriers and increase accessibility in the seven (7) priority areas outlined in the Act.
In addition to this, ACYAS has identified actions taken, emerging goals, and associated timelines with an overarching goal of achieving a workplace free of barriers by 2026.
- In collaboration with accessibility stakeholders, improve accessibility through partnership with designated bodies such as the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHFAC).
- Continuously engage internal and external stakeholders to identify and remove barriers to the built environment.
- Continue to strengthen the level of accessibility in ACYAS systems by ensuring hardware and software meet accessibility requirements.
- Promote accessibility awareness by providing training and raising awareness to foster an accessibility-first mindset for all IT projects.
- Incorporate accessibility into procurement and contracting documents, templates, and guidance.
- Build capacity to consult, develop, design, deliver and evaluate accessible and inclusive programs and services.
- Identify any potential accessibility features available that can be included in new fleet vehicle acquisitions.
- Implementation of transportation accommodations on a case-by-case basis to offer individualized support for employees of ACYAS who require tailored supports.
- Promote an accessibility-informed culture that creates a positive, inclusive workplace.
- Ensure all ACYAS employees have the knowledge and tools to become accessibility confident through training and engagement.
- Registration with the Rick Hansen Foundation to facilitate information gathering for accessible design considerations for the built environment.
- Completion of the Disability Inclusive Employer Self-Assessment tool through Presidents Group to understand ACYAS’s current state and to identify areas of possible improvement.
- Introduction and implementation of accessibility enhancements to the ACYAS website to promote compatibility with the Accessible Act Canada and to automate accessibility for users.
- Informal introduction of individualized accommodation plans specific to transportation requirements.
- Registration with the President Group’s Community of Accessible Employers to increase ACYAS’s visibility as an accessible employer and increase networking capacity with other inclusive employers.
- Registration with Living Wage for Families BC to ensure wages reflect the true costs of living in communities served.