THUNDER BAY – NEWS – Thunder Bay Counselling Centre is pleased to introduce a new program to support young people leaving the care of the child protection system. This follows an announcement from the provincial government back in February that provided funding for 50 Youth in Transition worker positions across Ontario.
The Youth in Transition Program will work with youth helping them to access the supports and services they need to enhance their quality of independent life, and to build resilience. Thunder Bay Counselling Centre Executive Director, Nancy Chamberlain, says; “All youth need support as they transition to adulthood, and youth leaving care are no exception to that. Care for youth in the child protection system ends at age 21 and in some cases even earlier. At this point in their lives, youth no longer have access to any of the people and systems they have previously turned to for assistance and support, and assume sole responsibility for their employment, education, housing, and overall health and well-being. The Youth in Transition Program will help to support youth both tangibly and emotionally as they experience this major transition. “
A report released in 2013 titled “A Blueprint for Fundamental Change to Ontario’s Child Welfare System,” indicates that 44-percent of youth in care complete high school compared to 82- percent of Ontario’s general youth population that graduate. The report specifies that youth in care are at much greater risk of relying on social assistance, becoming homeless, engaging in substance abuse, becoming single parents, experiencing mental health problems, or coming into contact with the criminal justice system.
Thunder Bay Counselling Centre Program Manager, Sheri Fata, indicates that ongoing support for youth is critical to their success. Fata stated, “Thunder Bay Counselling Centre will be working very closely with child protection services to create a smooth transition for youth who are exiting care. This is a sensitive time and the Youth in Transition Program helps lay the foundation for resilient lives ahead.”
The Thunder Bay Counselling Centre Youth in Transition Program provides support to young people between the ages of 16-24 as they move out of care. A Youth-in-Transition Worker works one-on-one with individuals to help them to:
• Access health and mental health services
• Secure stable housing
• Obtain education and training information
• Connect to employment services
• Identify and access life skills support
• Locate legal services
• Determine and access additional support as needed
Thunder Bay Counselling Centre Youth in Transition worker, Holly Rocco said, “Thunder Bay Counselling Centre encourages all youth who have been in care or are leaving care to contact us if they have any questions about the program. We want youth to know they are not alone, and that we are here to help them access services they need.”
To learn more about the Youth in Transition Program, please call (807) 632-8024 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 14th is Children and Youth in Care Day in Ontario. Currently over 8000 children are living in care throughout the province. The day provides an opportunity to raise awareness and recommit to supporting youth in and transitioning out of care.