McGuinty Government's Youth In Policing Programs A Success



    Part Of Government's Strategy To Provide More Opportunities For Youth

    TORONTO, Aug. 23 /CNW/ - One hundred and seventeen youth from underserved
communities in Toronto and Durham Region gained valuable skills and work
experience this summer as part of the McGuinty government's Youth in Policing
Initiative, Minister of Children and Youth Services Mary Anne Chambers
announced today.
    "Over the last two months young people from Toronto and Durham Region
worked with their local police service and embraced the opportunity to gain
real work experience, develop new skills, build self-confidence and learn
about careers in policing," said Chambers. "These talented and enthusiastic
young people now have a foundation on which to build future employment and
career ambitions."
    Under the program, young people 14 to 17 years of age worked in various
departments, including information technology, forensic identification,
community mobilization and traffic safety. One hundred youth worked with the
Toronto Police Service and 17 worked with the Durham Regional Police Service.
Another 42 young people worked with other police services across the province.
    "The Toronto Police Service has once again enjoyed success with the Youth
in Policing Initiative," said Police Chief Bill Blair. "This program continues
to provide an invaluable experience for both my officers and our young
people."
    "This program provides youth from our region with the experience and
knowledge they need to make positive and healthy choices in their lives," said
Durham Police Mike Chief Ewles. "The partnership between the Durham Regional
Police Service and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services has produced a
tremendously successful program for these young people and we look forward to
it continuing in the future."
    The Youth in Policing Initiative is one component of the province's Youth
Opportunities Strategy, a broad-based plan to help young people faced with
significant challenges achieve individual success. The government is investing
$28.5 million over the first three years of the strategy. In 2006, the
strategy was implemented in Toronto and Durham Region communities. In 2007,
the strategy was expanded to additional underserved communities in Windsor,
Ottawa, London, Hamilton and Thunder Bay.

    
    Disponible en français

                           www.children.gov.on.ca
                             www.youthconnect.ca


    Backgrounder
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

                         YOUTH OPPORTUNITIES STRATEGY
    

    The Ontario government's Youth Opportunities Strategy is building
stronger communities by establishing and expanding community programs that
help youth achieve a brighter future. The government is investing $28.5
million over the first three years of the strategy. The strategy recognizes
that some youth, particularly those in underserved communities, often do not
have access to opportunities and supports that would help them to be
successful in life.
    In 2006, the strategy was implemented in Toronto and Durham Region
neighbourhoods. In 2007, the strategy is continuing in Toronto and Durham
Region and has expanded to include London, Thunder Bay, Windsor, Ottawa and
Hamilton.
    The strategy includes the following initiatives:

    Summer Jobs for Youth Program

    The Summer Jobs for Youth Program provides young people ages 15 to 18
with the job readiness skills they need to build self-confidence and lead
rewarding, productive lives. It includes pre-employment readiness, employment
placements in a variety of fields including recreation, business and youth
leadership and post-employment supports. In 2007, approximately 1,800 young
people participated in the program. The eight-week program was coordinated by
local agencies.

    Youth in Policing Initiative

    The Youth in Policing Initiative provides opportunities for youth to work
with their local police service over the summer. The eight-week program
strengthens relationships between youth and the police, enables young people
to acquire an understanding of some aspects of policing, and encourages them
to consider policing as a future career option.
    Participants ages 14 to 17 worked in a variety of areas, including
information technology, forensic identification, community events and traffic
safety. In 2007, approximately160 young people from underserved communities
across Ontario worked with their local police service.

    Youth Outreach Worker Program

    The Youth Outreach Worker Program employs 62 outreach workers year-round
to ensure that youth are aware of, and know how to access, a wide range of
programs and services. They also promote youth engagement in all aspects of
life in their communities. The program is coordinated by local agencies.

    YouthConnect.ca

    While there is a wide range of programs and services to assist youth, it
is often confusing and difficult for youth to know what services are
available, where to find them and how to access them. The government's new
website, YouthConnect.ca, brings this information together in a coordinated,
creative, comprehensive and youth-friendly way, for the benefit of youth
wherever they live in Ontario.
    YouthConnect.ca provides a forum for young people to access information,
services and resources that will help them make good choices, achieve success
and contribute positively to their communities. The design and content of the
website was developed based on input and feedback from youth and stakeholders
that interact with youth.

    School-Based Prevention/Diversion Program

    The School-based Prevention/Diversion Program is a partnership among
schools, school boards, community-based agencies and police that helps high
school students less than 18 years of age, who are at risk of becoming
involved or are already involved in violent and/or offending activity,
increase their chances of school success.
    Justice partners tell us that many young people enter the justice system
as a result of a conflict in school and up to 70 per cent of youth appearing
in court have been suspended or expelled from school within a year of their
offending date. This program increases the ability of schools to deal with
conflict through a peer mediation program delivered in the school setting.
Participants are also referred to appropriate support services, such as
counseling, recreational programming, and assistance with school work,
employment and housing.

    Ontario Public Service (OPS) Learn and Work Program

    The OPS Learn and Work Program re-engages youth ages 16 to 19 to the
world of work by offering them meaningful cooperative education work
experiences in the Ontario government and its related agencies. Upon
completion of this Specialized Co-operative Education Program, participants
will have had the opportunity to earn academic credits toward their high
school diploma and obtain up to 27 weeks of meaningful work experience,
consisting of one co-op placement per semester in the Ontario Public Service
and its Agencies.
    The program was piloted in February 2006, and has grown from a
one-semester program helping 20 students, to a one-year program helping
students in four locations across the province. The current program is being
delivered in the following locations:

    
        - 2 sites in the Greater Toronto Area
        - 1 site in Windsor
        - 1 site in Ottawa

    Disponible en français

                           www.children.gov.on.ca
                             www.youthconnect.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Tricia Edgar, Minister's Office, (416)
212-7161, (416) 571-7247 (cell); Anne Machowski-Smith, Ministry of Children
and Youth Services, (416) 325-5156

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ONTARIO MINISTRY OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES

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