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Message from the Minister of Children and Youth Services

Welcome to the second annual report on Stepping Up: A Strategic Framework to Help Ontario’s Youth Succeed. Stepping Up strengthens our government’s commitment to young people, identifies our priorities and guides our decision making.

It’s also a call for continuing cooperation, partnership and action in our communities to help our young people find the best footing to step confidently into their futures.

We all want our children and youth to thrive. We want them to be safe, healthy and happy. We want them to succeed in school and to have the opportunities they need to grow into responsible, contributing adults.

But while we recognize that most of our children and youth are doing well, some youth and specific communities face barriers and obstacles in their lives, and need our help to reach their full potential. This second Stepping Up annual report highlights the progress Ontario is making in helping these youth succeed.

Stepping Up takes a cross-sector and whole-of-government approach to supporting our youth. It provides evidence-based outcomes and related indicators across seven important themes to help guide program and services and measure their impact.

Stepping Up was originally developed in 2013 with input from 18 provincial ministries, the Premier’s Council on Youth Opportunities and our non-profit, public-sector and private-sector partners. These partners continue to work together on programs and services designed to improve outcomes for Ontario’s youth.

As you read the 2015 annual report, you will learn about our collective achievements and our challenges. You will find evidence-based data that show we are making a difference and that we still have more to do.

The report also details the government’s plans for the future, including important initiatives that will soon be making a difference in your community. For example, we announced the enhanced Ontario Youth Action Plan in June 2015. This plan, which we continue to roll out, builds on the 2012 version of the plan by directing supports and resources where youth and communities need them most.

I am also proud to share real-life stories that I hope will inspire you and make you feel proud of what our young people are accomplishing every day across this province. These are stories I’m sure you’ll want to return to throughout the year.

I look forward to seeing our collective progress continue to produce results and ever greater impact for our young people in the years ahead.

Tracy MacCharles

Minister of Children and Youth Services