Ontario Connecting Black Youth and Families to Community Supports
Province Adding 11 New Enhanced Youth Outreach Workers
Ontario is connecting Black youth and their families to community supports with 11 new enhanced youth outreach workers in communities across the province.
Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism, was at TAIBU Community Health Centre in Toronto today to announce the expansion of the Youth Outreach Worker program, part of Ontario's Black Youth Action Plan. TAIBU Community Health Centre is one of 11 organizations receiving funding to hire new workers dedicated to supporting Black youth.
Youth outreach workers often come from the same neighbourhood in which they are providing service and share relevant life experiences with the young people they assist. They:
- Identify youth who may be experiencing mental health or addictions challenges, trauma or violence;
- Provide strong, culturally appropriate mentorship to help youth make positive choices; and
- Connect youth and their families with local services, resources and opportunities.
Enhanced youth outreach workers are registered professionals who are qualified to deliver short-term counselling and clinical supports to youth in crisis. The new workers will also receive anti-racism training.
Supporting Black children, youth and families is part of the government's plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and easier access to affordable child care.
- As part of Ontario’s Black Youth Action Plan, Ontario is investing an additional $881,000 this year for 11 new enhanced youth outreach workers in Ottawa, Windsor and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
- Program locations are available on the Ontario Black Youth Action Plan website.
- This investment is part of Ontario’s Black Youth Action Plan, which supports 10,000 Black children, youth and families each year. The plan aims to improve outcomes for Black youth by supporting their success in school, post-secondary education and employment.
- There are more than 110 existing youth outreach workers already supporting youth and families in communities across the province.
- In 2016, youth outreach workers helped over 8,822 at-risk youth in nine high-needs communities by connecting them with supports for employment, recreation, housing, mental health and addictions and more.
- Between 2015 and 2017, there was a 58 per cent increase in youth outreach worker referrals to mental health services.
- In Budget 2018, Ontario is committing an additional $2.1 billion to mental health and addictions care over the next four years. This includes $570 million for child and youth mental health and addictions services, so that more young people get the help they need faster and closer to home.
“New enhanced youth outreach workers play an important role by providing youth in crisis with immediate support, and connecting them with a wide range of services in the longer term.”
“The addition of new enhanced youth outreach workers is crucial because it bridges a service gap in the community. By providing psychosocial and emotional support, they help ensure that Black youth are not marginalized, and are supported to regain confidence and build skills to navigate systems and institutions that tend to be racist or biased against them.”