Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

March 06, 2015 15:05 ET

Government of Canada to Provide Funding for Animal-Assisted Intervention for Young Offenders in Prince George

PRINCE GEORGE, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - March 6, 2015) - Department of Justice Canada

Today, Minister of Justice Peter MacKay announced almost $32,000 in funding to support the Prince George Youth Custody Services' Animal-Assisted Intervention program for youth in custody who have experienced trauma and suffer from associated mental health and addiction issues.

This project is supported by the Youth Justice Initiative, which promotes a fair and effective youth justice system, responds to emerging youth justice issues, and enables greater citizen and community participation in the youth justice system, thereby promoting a holistic approach to helping youth.

Quick Facts

- The Prince George Youth Custody Services will pilot an animal-assisted intervention project for young offenders at the custody centre who have experienced trauma and suffer from associated mental health and addiction issues.

- Through the use of therapeutic dogs and an experienced handler, this intervention will enhance the capacity of youth in custody to build empathy and to improve overall emotional well being.

- The funding is being provided over four years as follows:

  • $10,650 for fiscal year 2014-15
  • $10,650 for fiscal year 2015-16
  • $10,650 for fiscal year 2016-17

- Funding for this project is provided by the Youth Justice Fund, which supports a broad range of projects with youth involved in the justice system. Current funding priorities include youth with mental health issues and/or cognitive impairments.

- The Youth Justice Fund provides grants and contributions to projects that encourage a more effective youth justice system, respond to emerging youth justice issues, and enable greater citizen and community participation in the youth justice system.

Quotes

"Protecting Canadians is a priority for our Government. We make our streets and communities safer by working with our partners and investing in innovative projects such as the Animal-Assisted Intervention program to help youth and reduce recidivism. Animal-assistance programs are well known to help people cope with many different illnesses and challenges. Projects such as this improve the lives of youth in trouble with the law and increase the youth justice system's ability to rehabilitate and reintegrate young offenders."

Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

"By collaborating with partners such as the Government of British Columbia and the Prince George Youth Custody Services, our Government is helping young offenders in custody in Prince George get the help they need to deal with mental health and addictions issues. The Animal-Assisted Intervention program will provide support to these young people to overcome these obstacles and change their violent behaviour. With the right support, these youth have a much better chance of success at rehabilitating and reintegrating into Canadian society."

Richard Harris, Member of Parliament for Cariboo-Prince George

"The Government of British Columbia is committed to ensuring youth that come into custody have access to programs that promote and support positive wellbeing and successful reintegration back into the community. The Animal-Assisted Intervention (AAI) program is an innovative tool the Prince George Youth Custody Centre is excited to add to its suite of services and we look forward to seeing its success first hand in northern B.C."

Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development

Related Products

Backgrounder: Youth Justice Fund

Associated Links

Department of Justice: Youth Justice Fund

Youth Forensic Psychiatric Services

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Backgrounder

Youth Justice Fund

The Youth Justice Fund was established in the 1990s as part of the Youth Justice Renewal Initiative, and provides grants and contributions funding for projects across Canada. The Youth Justice Fund has a budget of approximately $4.5 million each year.

The Youth Justice Fund has three components:

  • The Main Fund supports a broad range of projects relating to youth involved in the justice system. Current funding priorities include youth with mental health issues and/or cognitive impairments. The Main Fund can also provide support to respond to emerging youth justice issues.
  • The Drug Treatment component supports drug treatment interventions for youth involved in the justice system who are dealing with drug abuse.
  • The Guns, Gangs and Drugs component responds to youth involved in the justice system who are involved in, or vulnerable to, gun, gang and drug-related activities.

The Youth Justice Initiative is a multi-faceted approach that includes a legislative framework (the Youth Criminal Justice Act) and programming resources that:

  • Encourage a more fair and effective youth justice system;
  • Respond to emerging youth justice issues; and
  • Enable greater citizen/community participation in the youth justice system by encouraging partnerships and innovations, and developing and sharing information and knowledge about youth justice.

Community organizations, Aboriginal organizations, and individuals are eligible for funding to help develop community-based programming options and partnerships that respond more effectively to youth in conflict with the law. Funding support is also used to advance changes in provincial/territorial policies and programs that are consistent with the intent of federal policy objectives.

The Youth Justice Fund supports the development, implementation, and evaluation of pilot projects that provide programming and services for youth in conflict with the law. It supports professional development activities, such as training and conferences, for justice professionals and youth service providers. Additionally, it funds research on the youth justice system and related issues.

Projects must target youth who are between the ages of 12 and 17 and currently in conflict with the law, or justice professionals and/or service providers who work with these youth.

To learn more about the Youth Justice Fund, please visit www.canada.justice.gc.ca/youth.

Contact Information

  • Clarissa Lamb
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Justice
    613-992-4621

    Media Relations Office
    Department of Justice
    613-957-4207