Province Investing $55 Million to Support At-Risk Youth
Ontario is investing $55 million over three years for an enhanced Youth Action Plan to support more high-risk youth and additional high-needs communities across the province.
This enhanced plan builds on the success of the Ontario Youth Action Plan which was released in 2012. Additional targeted investments are being made in areas of the province that need it most, including Sudbury, Kingston, Brantford, Peterborough, Thunder Bay and the Greater Toronto Area.
The enhanced plan is based on five pillars:
- Best Start, Right Start – providing early and ongoing support to help young people make better choices and successfully transition into their teen years with initiatives like Stop Now and Plan (SNAP) and the development of a Middle Years Strategy
- Safe Communities – laying the foundation for keeping youth and communities safe through programs like Youth Justice Family Workers and a new Restorative Justice and Conflict Mediation Program
- Youth Well-being – decreasing risk factors such as disengagement with school, unemployment and antisocial activity through programs like the Youth Outreach Worker Program and the provincewide expansion of the Youth Opportunities Fund
- Youth Engagement – addressing barriers to social inclusion and creating more positive opportunities for newcomer and Aboriginal youth, through measures including a new Youth Mentorship Program
- Working Together, Building on Success – working together with the private sector and community providers to create new opportunities for youth through programs like the Private Sector Jobs and Mentorship Initiative
The enhanced Youth Action Plan is part of the government’s plan to give every child the opportunity to thrive and have the best possible start in life. It is also part of the government’s four-part plan to build Ontario up through investing in people’s talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.
- The youth violent crime rate has declined by 30 per cent between 2003 and 2013. The Ontario government has contributed to this decline through a range of investments and opportunities for at-risk youth.
- Currently, Youth Action Plan initiatives are positively impacting 27,500 youth per year in the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, London, Ottawa, Thunder Bay and Windsor.
- The enhanced plan will provide an additional estimated 37,000 opportunities to the highest needs youth across the province.
- The centrepiece of the Youth Action Plan, the Youth Opportunities Fund is now available to community groups across Ontario. So far, the program has funded 42 grant initiatives.
- Ontario’s first ever youth strategy – Stepping Up – was created through the 2012 Youth Action Plan and guides government activities related to youth.
- Since 2013, more than 7,000 children and youth from disadvantaged inner city and other urban areas have participated in daily recreation programs and approximately 450 young people have been employed through the Focus on Youth summer program.
“With the hard work and dedication of our community partners, the Ontario Youth Action Plan has had tremendous success in making a real difference in the lives of countless at-risk youth in communities across the province. Today’s announcement, a near doubling of our investment in at-risk youth, is one of the largest investments in at-risk youth in our province’s history. This will build on the past successes of the Youth Action Plan, reaching more at-risk youth in more high-needs communities, giving them greater opportunity to reach their full potential and succeed.” Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Children and Youth Services
“Ontario’s Youth Action Plan has led to impactful collaborations with the private and non-profit sectors that have opened the door to new opportunities for youth facing multiple barriers. It’s very encouraging that Ontario is renewing this commitment for youth at-risk so that we can build on the momentum and spread the reach of our impact.” Susan McIsaac, President and CEO, United Way Toronto