Frequently Asked Questions
Kids Help Phone is a community-based national organization that relies almost exclusively on the support of corporations, foundations and individuals to ensure that every child that takes the courageous step of reaching out for help receives the meaningful support they seek and deserve.
Kids Help Phone’s network of 10,000 volunteers is the key to every fundraising, outreach and community leadership initiative, across Canada.
For more information regarding Kids Help Phone’s funding, including questions about where your money goes when you donate, please download our Annual Reports.
Kids Help Phone estimates that in 2010 it had over 225,600 counselling contacts from young people across Canada. Our counsellors assisted kids more than 4,300 times a week either over the phone or online.
It is also estimated that there were more than 1 million indirect counselling contacts through our kids’ website. The Ask Us Online forum, where kids can post questions anonymously and get a response from a counsellor, is a great resource for young people who want to see what other kids are asking about, and who can then see how Kids Help Phone’s counsellors are addressing those questions. Sometimes, kids might not feel like they’re ready to pick up the phone and call someone. The Ask a Counsellor feature is one way they can see that they aren’t alone, and see how other kids are being supported through similar struggles.
How many communities does Kids Help Phone serve?
Every year, Kids Help Phone counsellors provide counselling, information and support to young people from almost 2,500 communities across Canada.
Kids Help Phone offers six different approaches to professional counselling, ensuring each young person is offered the most effective form of consultation for his or her unique needs.
- 1-800-668-6868 Immediate day or night counselling by phone
- Ask Us Online Counselling through online posts
- Info Booth Access to thoroughly researched and clinically endorsed content
- Navigating in a virtual support community created by kids viewing other kids’ online posts and the counsellors’ responses
- Interactive games and tools to promote self-care and resiliency, on the kids’ website
- Your Space where kids can share their innermost thoughts, secrets and feelings in a safe, non-judgmental environment.
Does Kids Help Phone’s phone number show up on cell phone bills?
Kids Help Phone’s service is confidential and anonymous. If you’re concerned about the phone number appearing on your cell phone bill, we recommend that you call us from a landline.
If you don’t trace calls or IP addresses, how do you know where calls or online questions come from?
At the end of every year, we receive information on which communities our calls came from. We make the assumption that our web visitors are from the same communities and allocate the web visits on a proportional basis.
Does Kids Help Phone’ offer services in languages other than English and French?
We are proud to offer our services in Canada’s two official languages and believe that most children living in Canada are fluent in one or both languages. Through our extensive database of almost 37,000 community and social services, we are able to connect young people to cultural resources in their communities where those services exist.
Who calls Kids Help Phone?
Kids Help Phone is the go-to resource for the young people of Canada from ages five to 20. We get calls from young people from communities across Canada, from urban centres to rural areas, from almost 2,500 Canadian communities every year.
What do kids call about?
From trouble with homework to dealing with loss and grief, from sexual identity questions to thoughts of suicide, kids can talk to Kids Help Phone about anything.
How many counsellors work at Kids Help Phone?
Currently, approximately 75 full- and part-time counsellors work at Kids Help Phone. They are all trained, professional counsellors with a wide variety of backgrounds including social work, education, psychology, sociology and child and youth services. Each has at least three to five years of experience in social services and telephone or web-based counselling, and is familiar with crisis intervention techniques.
Many of our counsellors have expertise in a specific area, such as eating disorders, gangs, gaming addictions or sexual abuse, allowing them to contribute to the knowledge base of the organization and their counselling colleagues. That knowledge and experience is then broadened by a team environment promoting peer-to-peer debriefs and exchanges, and by ongoing training. Workshops on such topics as Aboriginal culture, sexual orientation, self-harm, youth sexual health or therapeutic writing techniques, constantly give counsellors the new tools they need to support any kid in any situation.
Why doesn’t Kids Help Phone use volunteers on the phone?
Kids Help Phone believes that giving kids access to trained professional counsellors with backgrounds in a variety of academic and clinical specialties is the best way for young people to receive the quality information and support they need and deserve.
What is Kids Help Phone’s counselling philosophy?
We believe in all kids’ potential to shape their own futures, and we’re committed to helping them believe it too, so that they become thoughtful, creative and resilient enough to bounce back when life lets them down.
Our counselling approach follows the principles of Solution Focused Brief Therapy, which uses respectful collaboration between counsellor and client to recognize strengths, identify approach that will lead to practical results. Counsellors don’t try to solve kids’ problems for them. Their job is to listen without judging, no matter how serious the problem; to help kids look at the issue from different angles; to discuss different ways of resolving it; and to give kids the confidence to choose the one that works best for them.
We don’t just want kids to feel heard and understood; we want them to come away from every call or online visit with something tangible, from new information to a realistic plan for the future and a sense of hope. In doing this, Kids Help Phone attempts to help kids make healthy decisions based on their needs, personal values and beliefs and well-being.
What happens if the call or online question is an emergency?
If a child is in imminent physical danger and are seeking intervention, our professional counsellor will help the child develop a safety plan which may include calling 9-1-1 immediately. If appropriate, the counsellor will stay on the line with the child until help arrives.
If a child is in serious emotional stress and could obviously benefit from the immediate support of resources in his or her community, our counsellor encourages the child to recognize the risk and the value of getting immediate help from the police, child welfare or a shelter. If the child is willing to provide the necessary information, we can set up a three-way conversation with the appropriate local resources and get the child the immediate help they need.
However, under no circumstance would we trace a call or track an IP address, because we must always uphold our pledge to kids that Kids Help Phone is an anonymous and confidential service. Their willingness to call us is dependent on them believing this and we can never do anything to impact their confidence and trust.
How do you report abuse if you’re confidential?
Counsellors are obligated by law to report incidents of child abuse to the proper authorities. However, authorities require specific identifying information in order to investigate the report. Our counsellors encourage young people at risk to provide this information so that they can get them immediate help and/or work with the appropriate child welfare authorities in their communities. Our counsellors provide children at risk with information about their rights, what the child can expect from welfare authorities and support them through the process of connecting with the appropriate service.
How do counsellors deal with calls about cultural and religious differences?
Our counsellors are trained to counsel callers on these types of issues and they each have access to a database of almost 37,000 community resources across the country, including ones that are culturally-specific. Once a caller’s issue is identified, counsellors can provide the caller with all the available options to help them make their own decisions in keeping with their own values and culture.
What do counsellors say to young people who think they may be pregnant?
Pregnancy is first and foremost a health issue. Our counsellors will help the young person identify a safe adult or another appropriate support in their lives with whom they can speak. Kids Help Phone does not believe children should be making decisions about health issues in isolation.