Promoting self-determination amongst youth in conflict with the law: are advocates doing their part?
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This thesis used data from eleven advocacy reports published between 1998-2017 in the province of Ontario. The reports ranged from specific youth facilities such as the Roy McMurtry and Hamilton Wentworth centers to reports that generally focused on the experiences of youth in conflict with the law. The study aimed to understand how well youth in conflict with the law are provided with the tools to better self-advocate. To do this, a qualitative study was conducted using a grounded theory approach to uncover key themes. Three overarching themes were explored: Conditions of Confinement, Lack of Access to Advocacy, and Youth Self-Development. Ryan and Deci’s (2001) Self-Determination Theory were used to analyze how well advocates promoted the self-determination of youth in conflict with the law through autonomy, relatedness, and competence. Findings suggest that youth struggle in relationships, are not provided with the tools to succeed, and lack autonomy all of which are in opposition to notions of self-determination.