The Editor (Attn: Dave Obee or Bruce MacKenzie)
Re: "Steering them straight" - Aug. 30, 2013
The Aug. 30 editorial on the trauma that many of our B.C. youth in custody have experienced is certainly advocating the right approach. The results of the recent McCreary Time Out III report reinforce our emphasis on staff developing supportive relationships with these vulnerable kids so we can improve their chances of success as they reintegrate into their communities.
As well, I couldn't agree more that we need get to these young people early and hopefully prevent them from ever coming into custody.
The B.C. government invests more than $1 billion annually on early learning and childhood development programs where we can have a positive impact on their formative years, and help them overcome any challenges they might be facing to get the best possible start in life.
Through programs like Roots and Seeds of Empathy, the ministries of Children and Family Development and Education are promoting empathy and compassion in young children both in their preschool and elementary school years. Support for these internationally recognized, evidence-based programs helps reduce risky behaviour, violence, bullying and, as these children grow, crime in our communities.
We also provide more than $10 million annually for StrongStart BC programs. These are free, school-based early learning services for children from birth to age five that also include valuable social interactions. As well, the Ministry of Children and Family Development invests approximately $94 million annually to address child and youth mental health and substance use challenges.
This government is working to support children at a young age because we know how supporting children in their formative years provides them with the best chance of success later in life and reduces their chance of ever coming into custody.
Minister of Children and Family Development