Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux released the following statement to celebrate Youth Justice Week in B.C., May 8-14, 2016:
“The Province has officially proclaimed Youth Justice Week to raise awareness about our outstanding youth justice system and honour the dedicated people and organizations that work – day in and day out – to support youth to make better choices and get back on the right path.
“Other jurisdictions look to B.C. as an example of a youth justice system that’s working well. While crime rates and the number of youth entering the justice system are on a downward trend in Canada, B.C. has been ahead of the curve. Our community youth justice caseloads have dropped from an average of 4,500 in 1995, down to approximately 1,350 in early 2016. That‘s worth celebrating!
“Why is B.C.’s youth justice system such a success? In addition to our provincial and federal funding, youth justice staff have been very successful in accessing available funds from Justice Canada that specifically support research and training in evidenced-based best practices. B.C. has an array of Full-Time Attendance Programs (FTAPs) that provide the courts with an alternative to youth custody. These programs provide intensive support and supervision in the community while addressing culturally appropriate and gender-specific programming.
“We also have a Youth Forensics Service that provides assessments and treatment for youth in the justice system that addresses the unique and complex mental-health challenges that bring them into conflict with the law.
“Here in B.C., our primary goal is to help youth live in their communities safely while reducing the risk to the public. If a youth is removed from their community by the courts, our custody centres or FTAPs provide tremendous support and programming to prepare them for transition back to their home community. Probation officers also have a strong focus on transition planning to ensure proper supports are in place, giving the youth the best opportunity to succeed.
“The praise our youth justice system receives is thanks to the hundreds of individuals and organizations that work in service delivery, assessments and treatment, or policy and program support throughout the province.
“The work of these dedicated people – and the decisions they make every day – provide young people with the tools, resources and guidance they need to make positive choices for their future – choices that will help them set out on a brighter, healthier path.
“Their work often isn’t easy and their days can be challenging but staff will also say that their work is tremendously rewarding and worthwhile.
“These are all reasons why it’s so important to officially proclaim Youth Justice Week in B.C.
“Please join me in supporting B.C.’s youth and all those involved with the youth justice system across the province for their continuous work to make B.C. a safe and vibrant place to live.”
For more information on the youth justice system in B.C., visit: www.gov.bc.ca/youthjustice