Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

February 09, 2015 14:14 ET

Government of Canada Supports Lord Selkirk School Division START Program to Serve Justice-Involved Youth

Funding to help youth involved in the criminal justice system who have cognitive impairments or mental health issues

SELKIRK, MANITOBA--(Marketwired - Feb. 9, 2015) - Department of Justice Canada

Today, James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirk-Interlake, on behalf of Justice Minister Peter MacKay, announced $60,000 in funding to the Lord Selkirk School Division to support youth with cognitive impairments or mental health issues who are also involved in the justice system. The new funding to the Selkirk Team for At-Risk Teens (START) program will use an existing local model to develop a network of support for youth and their families with the goal of preventing further involvement with the justice system.

This project is funded by the Youth Justice Fund, which supports a broad range of projects with youth involved in the criminal justice system. Current funding priorities include youth with mental health issues and/or cognitive impairments such as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. 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, thereby promoting a holistic approach to helping young people.

Quick Facts

  • The START program will apply its successful model to serving justice-involved youth with cognitive impairments or mental health issues to:

    • Reduce recidivism;

    • Improve engagement of youth with community supports;

    • Increase contact between clients and their families and their support agencies.

  • The START model will accomplish these goals by creating an individualized plan for each youth, coordinating resources and advocating on behalf of the youth and their family.

  • The funding is being provided over three years as follows:

    • $20,000 for fiscal year 2014-2015

    • $20,000 for fiscal year 2015-2016

    • $20,000 for fiscal year 2016-2017

Quotes

"Our Government is pleased to support the Lord Selkirk School Division as they reach out to youth involved in the criminal justice system. We are committed to helping those who work with young offenders so we can make our communities safer and help these youth find their way back to contributing to society in a positive way."

Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

"I am pleased with our Government's support for the Lord Selkirk School Division to provide support for justice system-involved youth. This project will help reduce recidivism, improve relationships between youth and the community, and increase contact between youth, their families, and the support agencies in place to assist these young people."

James Bezan, Member of Parliament, Selkirk-Interlake

"START's wrap-around model gives hope to youth with diagnosed cognitive impairments or mental health issues. Through collaborative inter-agency support, these often-marginalized youth have the opportunity to complete school and become productive citizens."

Scott Kwasnitza, Superintendent, Lord Selkirk School Division

"Youth with cognitive and mental health issues are particularly vulnerable to remaining part of the justice system once they become involved. With the support of the Youth Justice Fund and our other community partners, the goal of our Customized Support Teams is to prevent re-offending while offering the ongoing support and resources these youth require to move their lives in a positive direction."

Tammy Thompson, Program Coordinator, START (Selkirk Teams for At-Risk Teens)

Related Products

Backgrounder: Youth Justice Fund

Associated Links

Department of Justice: Youth Justice Fund

Lord Selkirk School Division START program (https://www.lssd.ca/START)

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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 and in a more meaningful manner 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