Communities Support Young People to Succeed

Youth Action Plan

Stepping Up: A Strategic Framework to Help Ontario's Youth Succeed was released in June 2013. This strategy provides a common vision, guiding principles, themes, and outcomes that are important for Ontario's youth.

The development of Stepping Up was a commitment in the government's Youth Action Plan, released in August 2012. Stepping Up builds on earlier research from the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence report (2008) and is based on up-to-date research and evidence on youth as outlined in Stepping Stones: A Resource on Youth Development, released in June 2012.

In 2014, the first Stepping Up annual report was released. The annual report highlights the government's initiatives to support youth. It demonstrates that Ontario has invested in all seven Stepping Up themes for youth wellbeing. The annual report also provides an updated Profile of Youth Wellbeing and provides an updated picture of how Ontario's youth are doing. The 2014 Profile of Youth Wellbeing suggests that, in general, outcomes are improving for Ontario's youth.

Stepping Up identifies key initiatives to support a positive, asset-based view of Ontario's youth. In 2014-15 activities and initiatives related to Stepping Up and the Youth Action Plan included:

  • Providing funding for the new Youth Research and Evaluation Exchange (YouthREX) program to provide research and evaluation resources, tools, supports, and services to Ontario's youth-serving sector in order to help improve outcomes for youth;
  • Providing funding for the Local Youth Collective Impact (YouthCI) program to support and strengthen local collaboration and collective impact to foster youth wellbeing and improve outcomes for at-risk youth in communities across Ontario;
  • Supporting a private sector jobs and mentoring initiative led by the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance (CivicAction), a council of community and business leaders, to explore barriers and identify opportunities for disadvantaged young people;
  • Supporting the Premier's Council on Youth Opportunities (PCYO), the advisory body of youth (ages 16-25) and young professionals, front-line workers and other leaders from the youth-serving sector who provide advice to the Minister of Children and Youth Services and the Premier of Ontario on issues relating to youth, including how to enhance existing youth-oriented programs, policies, strategies and resources;
  • Supporting grassroots, youth-led and community-based initiatives for at-risk youth in the Greater Toronto Area (Durham, Halton, Peel, Toronto and York) in 2014-15 providing $5 million for the Youth Opportunities Fund (YOF) program The YOF is delivered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation and is guided by Stepping Up: A Strategic Framework to Help Ontario's Youth Succeed;
  • Studio Y: Ontario's Youth Social Impact and Leadership Academy that leverages Ontario's world-leading, social innovation infrastructure at MaRS to educate and harness youth talent to address the province's complex social and economic challenges.

In 2015-16 the ministry will continue to fund these programs, services, and initiatives and will implement the next phase of Ontario's Youth Action Plan through enhancements to programs and initiatives that will support at-risk and high-risk youth in communities across Ontario and help prevent youth violence by:

  • Addressing service gaps for youth with the highest needs;
  • Scaling up local initiatives that have been shown to have real, positive results; and
  • Expanding youth opportunities to high-needs areas of Ontario that were not included in the first phase of the Youth Action Plan.

In 2015-16 the ministry plans to launch the Youth Social Hub, a policy development tool that engages authentic youth voice through two-way dialogue on social media channels, to discuss government's policies and programs impacting youth.

In 2015-16, the ministry will invest over $47 million in Youth Action Plan and the Youth Opportunities Strategy activities and initiatives.

Services and Supports for Aboriginal Children and Youth

The ministry will continue to support the unique needs of First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and urban Aboriginal young people across Ontario in 2015-16. It will continue to fund the Aboriginal Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program, the Aboriginal Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Child Nutrition Program, Aboriginal child protection services and prevention initiatives, the Akwe:go and Wasa-Nabin Urban Aboriginal Programs, and community-based programs for Aboriginal youth in, or at risk of, conflict with the law.

As the ministry implements Ontario's Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, it remains committed to providing culturally appropriate mental health services as close to home as possible. Investments in Aboriginal mental health workers, a new Aboriginal training program for mental health workers, and a new Tele-Mental Health Service is helping meet the needs of Aboriginal children and youth.

The ministry is implementing a long-term plan for training supports for Aboriginal Mental Health and Addictions Workers in First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Aboriginal communities to build and enhance worker knowledge, competencies and skill capacity to support them in providing high quality mental health services to children and youth.

The plan is being implemented over three fiscal years starting in 2014-15 and consists of:

  • A Professional Development (PD) Fund;
  • Mobile Training Teams (pilot in 2014-15 and 2015-16);
  • A Short Term Intensive Course on Aboriginal Mental Health and Addictions; and
  • An Aboriginal Mental Health and Addictions Workers' Training Committee.

The ministry continues to work collaboratively with First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and urban Aboriginal partners on an Aboriginal Children and Youth Strategy to improve outcomes and opportunities for Aboriginal children and youth by transforming the way in which services are designed and delivered.

The ministry will continue working with a number of Aboriginal service providers seeking designation as Aboriginal CASs.