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  • Writer's pictureMegan Ross

Wood Street Woes: Youth Rights and Secure ‘Treatment'

Updated: Jul 3

By Dr. Megan Ross



Wood Street Centre Campus harms children and we want to shut it down. One of our oldest and dearest clients recently passed away. It broke all our hearts; Jada was a bright shining light. A brilliant and beautiful woman who could not see how incredible she was. She had the deck stacked against her from the start, and yet she was exceptionally capable. Riddled with trauma, but full of dazzling glowing potential. We could all see it in her, the problem was she couldn’t see it in herself. She passed away at 25.


All she needed to thrive was love. All she craved for desperately in her bones, was to be seen and loved and cared for. She endured enormous pain, and the experience she said was the most harmful, was the Wood Street Centre. We want to shut it down in her honour and out of love. We want to build homes for vulnerable children in Jada’s name. And we need your help to do it.


Wood Street is a secure care institution for young people between the ages of 12 and 18, although children as young as 8 have been institutionalized there. The Nova Scotia government claims that Wood Street provides individualized treatment plans for youth with a range of complex behaviour and/ or emotional challenges. In truth, there is no treatment at this treatment centre.


We are not aware of any emotional or behavioural disorder that is remedied by confinement. On the contrary, many of the neurodivergent youth in the facility are deeply harmed by confinement. Children are being institutionalized in the name of their own treatment in a way that is harming them more. They deserve better. If you are a young person who went to Wood Street: you deserved better.


Institutions like Wood Street have a long history. Industrial schools, also known as “ragged schools” originally opened in London in the mid-1800s. These schools were intended to help poor children by removing them from bad influences and giving them an education. In truth, the schools were rife with sexual and physical abuse. The education was nothing more than forced labour. The schools tried to discipline working class culture out of the children, to reform them into hard working middle-class Londoners. It didn’t work, instead it just re-entrenched class divisions in London.


This was a system that was built to help children out of poverty. And yet, what it ended up doing was embedding poverty and class division further. The schools were used as the inspiration for the Residential School system for Indigenous Children. It was also used as the inspiration for Wood Street.


It’s easy for people to ignore these places, to assume they can’t be as bad kids say they are. It is much easier as a society to forget these children and their plight. Out of sight, out of mind.


We refuse to look away at Path, we believe the children. Together, we want to fight for the constitutional rights of all children. To fight for a future that is different from our past, for a society where children are loved and cherished. Even the ‘difficult’ ones. Love and healing are the path out of intergenerational trauma, not the institutionalization of children.


If you’ve been to Wood Street, please reach out to us. We need your help! Consider sharing details about your experience by completing this form.

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Temp Peary
Temp Peary
03 Ιουλ

My name is Merissa, I have been here 14 times as young as 12, and stayed 2 and half years time all together, non consecutively, in a 4 year period ! I was a young girl who just needed someone to listen and support me but by locking me up and putting me in a place as bad as this just destroyed me, I ended up going down a very dark path because of woodstreet.

I escaped from here 3 times and did whatever I had to do to get out, weather that be climbing at 30 foot fence and getting cut up or harming myself to get to hospital to run away etc..

this place does not help children…

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