Youth Research Academy

About the Youth Research Academy (YRA)

The YRA is a group of youth aged 16 to 24 with experience of the government care system. Members of the YRA are trained to conduct research projects of interest to youth in and from government care and the agencies that serve them.

We are hiring!


We are hiring Research Assistants from across BC for the YRA. The current cohort began in June 2021 and will run until March 2022. Youth must live in BC and be able to work in Canada to be eligible for this position. For more details, download the job description here. To download a poster to share the opportunity with youth, click here.

If you are a young person who would like to join the YRA, you can fill out a short application form here. If you have questions, please contact Katie at

YRA reports and infographics

Vaping among BC youth with government care experience: A Youth Research Academy report

This report was produced by McCreary's Youth Research Academy (YRA) using data from the 2018 BC Adolescent Health Survey (BC AHS) and shares findings about vaping among BC youth in and from government care. Findings in the report include who was more likely to vape, protective factors linked to lower rates of vaping, and supports that can be helpful to youth who vape.


Youth transitioning out of care in BC: A preliminary report

This report shares the preliminary findings from the Youth Research Academy’s longitudinal study of youth aging out of care in BC.

Download / Infographic / Media release

Supports in the Spotlight

Supports in the Spotlight was produced the Youth Research Academy (YRA) using data from the 2013 and 2018 BC Adolescent Health Surveys (BC AHS) to identify protective factors that can support youth in and from government care to achieve positive health and well-being. The report includes quotes from youth with care experience who completed the 2018 BC AHS, reflections on the findings from YRA members, and suggestions for how best to support youth in and from care.

Download / PowerPoint / Poster

Prescribing pain: Misuse of prescription medication, heroin and other substances among youth in BC

This report was prepared by McCreary's Youth Research Academy and provides an overview of substance use among BC youth with a focus on the misuse of prescription medication and heroin. Reflections on the findings by YRA members are included throughout the report.

Download / Knowledge summary /Infographic poster

Clearing the Air: A youth-led research project about vaping

The Vaping Research Slam was a fast-paced weekend project in June 2019 during which YRA members and other young people investigated vaping among BC youth. Over two days, youth discussed their views on vaping; generated ideas to support youth who vape and to share the potential risks of vaping with their peers; analyzed data from the BC Adolescent Health Survey, and presented their findings and key messages to stakeholders.

Download / Infographic poster

Youth Research Slam 2019: A youth-led research project about substance use

Over Spring Break 2019, 14 youth aged 15–24 took part in the third annual Research Slam. They investigated substance use and its effect on youth health, as well as how to support youth to make healthier choices when it comes to substance use. This report was created as part of a project to better understand youth substance use and substance-related harms in the context of the current opioid crisis.

Download / Infographic poster

Substance use and critical injuries

Young people in and from government care in BC shared their suggestions to reduce substance-related harms among young people in the province. Their suggestions helped to inform recommendations made by the BC Office of the Representative for Children and Youth.

Download the poster (11"x17") here.

Alcohol and youth

This infographic was created by the Youth Research Academy to highlight findings from recent McCreary reports on alcohol use among BC youth.

Download the infographic poster (11"x17") here.

Food and mood: A youth-led study into nutrition and mental health

Over Spring Break 2018, the Youth Research Academy hosted the second annual Research Slam. Participants analyzed data from the 2013 BC Adolescent Health Survey (BC AHS) relating to nutrition and mental health, and created their own survey to answer questions not addressed in the BC AHS. This report shares the results of that survey as well as recommendations to improve nutrition and mental health among young people.

Download the report here.

More than Grades

As part of a larger project conducted by the BC Office of the Representative for Children and Youth, McCreary and the YRA were asked to capture the perspectives of youth in and from government care with respect to the barriers and supports they experience in achieving educational success. YRA members analyzed the survey data, including open-ended questions, and identified key findings. They also took the results back to youth who participated in the survey to get their perspectives on the findings, and shared the results through presentations and workshops.

Download the report here.

Other YRA Work

Click here to download a copy of the Provincial Intermediate and Middle Years Teachers' Association Fall 2017 newsletter, which features recommendations from the project written by members of the YRA.

Download the full report from the BC Office of the Representative for Children and Youth here.

The report includes input from individuals in the school and care systems, such as teachers, social workers and foster parents. It also includes youth input gathered by McCreary and the YRA.

The report shares suggestions from project participants and identifies areas in which children and youth in care can be better supported in their educational achievement.

Click here to download a 4-page summary of the report.