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Ontario's Enhanced Youth Action Plan

Backgrounder

Ontario's Enhanced Youth Action Plan

Ministry of Children and Youth Services

The enhanced Youth Action Plan will expand the government's efforts to prevent youth violence across Ontario.

Building on the success of the 2012 Ontario Youth Action Plan and the 2006 Youth Opportunities Strategy, more high-risk youth and additional high-needs communities will benefit from targeted investments and services. The plan promotes partnerships among ministries, municipalities, police, local businesses, community groups, youth leaders and Ontario families - who all play a role in helping young people make the right choices and reach their full potential.

2012 Youth Action Plan

The 2012 Ontario Youth Action Plan was released in response to incidents of gun violence. It was developed to give young people the supports and opportunities they need to succeed, help prevent youth violence and foster safer communities. The plan was based on the findings of the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence report, and centred on supporting the needs of at-risk youth in the Greater Toronto Area, along with investments in Hamilton, London, Thunder Bay, Ottawa and Windsor.

What's New

The enhanced Youth Action Plan builds on the success of the 2012 plan. The Youth Opportunities Fund is now available to community groups across Ontario. Additional targeted investments are also being made in areas of the province that need it most, including Sudbury, Kingston, Brantford, Peterborough, Thunder Bay and the Greater Toronto Area. Investments from the 2012 plan will continue to be made in Hamilton, London, Ottawa and Windsor, Thunder Bay and the Greater Toronto Area.

Ministries across government are working together to deliver Youth Action Plan programs and initiatives, including:

  1. Best Start, Right Start. These initiatives focus on early, coordinated interventions to help children make successful transitions to their teen years.
    • Stop Now and Plan (SNAP): A family-focused intervention program for high-risk children aged 6-12 who are engaging in aggressive, anti-social behaviour and/or who have come into contact with police. Participants learn self-control, problem-solving and emotion-regulation skills.
    • Development of a Middle Years Strategy: This strategy will support children between 6 and 12 years old and their families. It will help bridge existing government strategies to complete a single coordinated approach to supporting children and youth from birth to age 25.
  2. Safe Communities. These programs lay the foundation for keeping youth and communities safe.
    • Restorative Justice and Conflict Mediation: A new program for students to manage school conflict through peer mediation while strengthening pro-social skills. Programs will be available in Peterborough, Kingston, Brantford, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and GTA.
    • Gang Prevention / Intervention Programs: Support for youth who are gang-affiliated or at risk of affiliation to leave or avoid gangs and build pro-social skills through intensive one-on-one supports, with a focus on education, employment and training. These will be available in Ottawa, Windsor, Thunder Bay and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
    • Youth Justice Family Workers: Family workers provide supports to families of youth in conflict with the law to support rehabilitation and address situations that put youth at risk of re-offending. Workers will be available in Peterborough, Kingston, Brantford, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and the GTA.
  3. Youth Well-Being. These programs help young people avoid violent behaviour by decreasing their exposure to risks factors and increasing their exposure to services that have been shown to help vulnerable youth.
    • Youth Opportunities Fund: Expansion of the program across the province, including increased funding in the GTA, to provide grants to grassroots, youth-led initiatives and community-based organizations to support youth who face barriers to economic and social wellbeing.
    • Youth Outreach Worker Program: Enhancement of the existing program, which supports at-risk youth and their families to find opportunities, solutions and resources. This will bring services to more communities and strengthen outreach supports for high-risk youth.
  4. Youth Engagement. These programs address barriers to social inclusion and create more positive opportunities for at-risk youth.
    • Youth Mentorship Program: A new program that will support locally developed mentoring activities for high-risk youth. Mentorship initiatives will focus on at least one of three outcome areas: employment and entrepreneurship; educational achievement; and civic engagement and leadership.
    • Community Aboriginal Recreation Activator Program: A program built on past successes in addressing quality of life for First Nations youth using sport and recreation to encourage for social change. Seven new sites include: Aundeck Omni Kaning, Curve Lake, Long Lake #58, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Oneida of the Thames, Wasauksing and Whitefish Lake.
    • Newcomer Youth Settlement Program: Expansion of a program to help more newcomer youth to participate in culturally appropriate activities that support community engagement.
  5. Working Together, Building on Success. These initiatives increase ways for the province to work together with the private sector and community providers to build on success to date and create new opportunities for vulnerable youth.
    • Focus on Youth: Expand the summer employment program to new high-needs communities and extend the current program during the school year in target communities, providing more high-risk youth with job experience throughout the school year.
    • United Way Toronto Career Navigator: A program for vulnerable youth that provides supports, training and internships in targeted areas with labour needs, in cooperation with the private sector and United Way Toronto member agencies.
    • Youth Worker Training: Expand existing training symposiums to new communities, supporting professional development, networking and knowledge exchange for front-line workers involved with at-risk and high-risk youth.
    • Private Sector Jobs and Mentorship Initiative: This initiative will be expanded to communities across the province. It will build on the success of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area's model to work private sector leaders to address barriers to employment for high-risk youth.

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