McGuinty Government brings services for children and youth under one roof

Archived Release

McGuinty Government brings services for children and youth under one roof

New Ministry of Children and Youth Services provides real, positive change for Ontario families TORONTO, March 19 - The McGuinty government is delivering positive change for Ontario's young people and their families by bringing together programs for children and youth under a single ministry, the Minister of the new Ministry of Children and Youth Services announced today. "The Premier made children and youth issues a top priority in creating the first new ministry in Ontario in 20 years, the new Ministry of Children and Youth Services," said Dr. Bountrogianni. "By focusing on positive results for kids from prenatal health through early adulthood we have a unique opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of Ontario's young people. The new ministry is complete and now encompasses a wide range of services and supports for children and youth." In addition to programs such as child care, children's mental health and child protection, which were transferred to the new ministry in the fall, responsibility for specific children's health programs and youth probation and custody services were transferred to the ministry this week. At the same time, the word "Youth" was added to the ministry title to reflect its full breadth. Since it was created in the fall the ministry has made important new investments in children including $9.7 million for child care and $64 million for child protection services. "We're working closely with service providers and parents across the province to help give kids the best start in life, make it easier to access services at all stages of a child's development, and help youth become productive adults." "By helping our children and youth succeed today, we can help ensure Ontario succeeds tomorrow." Backgrounder ------------------------------------------------------------------------- A Snapshot of Ontario's Children and Youth Population - There are approximately 2.9 million children and youth in Ontario, about 25 per cent of the population. Of those, 83 per cent live in urban centres and 17 per cent in rural communities. In 2002, 130,000 children were born in Ontario compared with 138,000 children born in 1998. The birth rate in aboriginal communities is 1.5 times greater than the national birth rate. Families - Most children live in two-parent, dual-income families. One- parent families represent about 15 per cent of Ontario families. Between 18 and 25 per cent of children live in low income families. There are approximately 18,000 children in the care of Children's Aid Societies, and a further 46,000 open protection cases. Education - Of the 2.1 million children enrolled in school in Ontario, 7.4 per cent of them have identified problems including learning, language and emotional disabilities. In 2003, 81 per cent of eligible children were enrolled in junior kindergarten and 95 per cent of eligible children in senior kindergarten. Health - Ontario's rate of low-birth-weight babies is 5.7 per cent. Low birth weight is an indicator of several physical, emotional and cognitive disabilities. About 25 per cent of Canadian children are considered obese. Higher proportions of children living in low-income families are overweight. In Canada, 43 per cent of all children with disabilities live in Ontario. Youth in Custody - There are approximately 22,000 youth under supervision in Ontario. Approximately 20,000 are on probation and the rest are in open or secure custody. Many of these youth are also involved in the child welfare system. Fact Sheet ------------------------------------------------------------------------ The Ministry of Children and Youth Services The Best Start. Supporting Youth. Helping Families. - The Premier established the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to make it easier for families to find the services to give kids the best start in life, make it easier for families to access the services they need at all stages of a child's development, and help youth become productive adults. - At the heart of the ministry is the determination to put the best interests of children and youth at the forefront of all government programs. The ministry will provide leadership throughout government and advocate for better results for children and youth. - The ministry is developing a seamless, integrated system of services to better serve children, youth and their families. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services is an integral part of the McGuinty government's plan for real, positive change. - The programs that are now included in the ministry are: - Healthy Babies, Healthy Children; - Infant Hearing; - Pre-school Speech and Language program; - Speech and Audiology program; - Child Care; - Ontario Early Years programs; - Early Childhood Development initiatives; - Services for children with special needs; - Children's Treatment Centres; - Centre for Excellence in Child and Youth Mental Health; - Children's mental health programs (community-based and hospital out-patient); - Child Protection (Children's Aid Societies); - Office of Child and Family Service Advocacy; and - Youth justice services (probation and custody for youth 12 to 17 years of age). Disponible en fran├žais For more information visit www.children.gov.on.caFor further information: Contacts: Andrew Weir, Minister's Office, (416) 212-7159; Anne Machowski-Smith, Ministry of Children and Youth Services, (416) 325-5156