The Representative for Children & Youth’s recently released report (Missed Opportunities) on youth justice resources reveals a grotesque misuse of government funds to operate surplus youth justice services. The Our Children Our Way Society finds this especially disturbing given the critical deficits in other areas of service delivery to children and youth.
“It is incredibly disheartening to hear of Youth Probation Officer caseloads hovering around ten, while Child & Youth Special Needs workers may be managing upwards of 200 clients,” says Jennifer Chuckry, Executive Director of the Our Children Our Way Secretariat.
The Our Children Our Way Society recognizes that the closure of the youth custody centre in Prince George is a necessary step, but we are very concerned about young people in the north who are involved in the youth justice system. Moving those young people to facilities in the south can only increase their vulnerability and sever their connections to community and culture.
The resources currently invested in the Prince George youth custody centre must be reallocated to services in the north. We call for consultation and collaboration with northern communities, Indigenous leaders and service providers to ensure this closure does not result in the forcible relocation of young people away from their home territories, families and cultural connections; and does create new opportunities to address the complex needs of high-risk youth.
“This is a northern facility serving primarily Indigenous youth. Those resources must be reinvested toward desperately needed services for Indigenous youth in the north,” says Mary Teegee, Chair of the Our Children Our Way Society.
For further comment, please contact: Mary Teegee-Gray, Chair, Our Children Our Way Society Phone: 250-612-8710