BC Government: Funding programs that aim to keep kids out of gangs, neighbourhoods safe
April 23, 2019
BBOTSFORD – To assist communities facing increased gun and gang violence throughout British Columbia, six programs aimed at enhancing efforts to prevent, disrupt and combat this violence will receive sustained funding through the Gun and Gang Violence Action Fund from Public Safety Canada.
“Prevention and intervention at the community level are important parts of combating the gun and gang violence that we’ve seen across our province,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Working with our federal, municipal and community partners, we can strike at the root of the problem in our neighbourhoods to ensure our youth are resilient to the lure of gangs and gang violence, helping them make positive life choices while laying the groundwork for a safer, more positive future for all citizens in B.C.”
This funding will build upon one of government’s first announcements, providing the Surrey Wrap program with ongoing, annual funding of $500,000 to deliver anti-gang programming to youth in Surrey. The number of youth and families served by Surrey Wrap, at last count, had grown from 131 to 168, for a capacity increase of 28%.
B.C.’s first allocation of $5.3 million in funding over two years, from the Gun and Gang Violence Action Fund, will support community-specific initiatives aimed at preventing and intervening in local gang activity in specific areas struggling with gun and gang crime.
This reliable funding will ensure B.C.’s programs are able to provide sustainable program delivery that will emphasize community engagement, targeted training and the development of gun and gang violence prevention tools for Indigenous communities.
Six gang-related prevention and intervention programs, based in Abbotsford, the Cariboo-Chilcotin region and the Capital Regional District, will receive the following funding:
- $977,966 to the Abbotsford Community Services Society’s Abbotsford In It Together: Supporting Youth Involved in Gang Activity program.
- $225,000 to the Abbotsford Community Services Society’s Enhancing Gang Prevention and Intervention Programming with South Asian Youth.
- $207,795 to the Cariboo-Chilcotin Child Development Centre Association’s Future Forward program.
- $173,361 to the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre Society’s Youth and Family Navigator program.
- $450,00 to the Pacific Centre Family Services Association’s Crime Reduction and Exploitation Diversion program.
- $580,000 to the BC School Superintendents Association’s Support for High Risk, Vulnerable Youth in BC Communities program.
This upfront investment in community-based prevention and intervention programs will enable sustained operations over the next several years.
To better understand just how the funding is helping, and to evaluate best practices related to gang prevention and intervention, recipients will be responsible for reporting performance metrics to the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
The next year of community-based funding will focus on incorporating a municipal grant-funding framework between the Province and local governments to sustain sufficient response to this public safety challenge.
A balance of prevention, intervention and enforcement strategies is important for success in any community. The Province will continue to work with federal and municipal partners to pull out all the stops to identify bold, new actions that can support police, schools and citizens in curbing gun and gang violence and saving young lives.
Alison Gutrath, community co-ordinator, Abbotsford Community Services – In It Together Program –
“We are grateful to receive this funding to address such a critical need in our community. This will allow us to work with the youth at highest risk of and those involved in gang activity.”
Henry Braun, mayor of Abbotsford –
“On behalf of the City of Abbotsford, I would like to thank the Province of British Columbia for supporting Abbotsford Community Services’ In It Together Program. By focusing on prevention at a young age with youth and their families, we can help to stop young people from being lured into gang lifestyles. In It Together has had enormous success in our community and is an important part of how we can continue to address gang activity at a community level.”
Mike Serr, Chief constable, Abbotsford Police Department –
“Enforcement strategies alone will not end gang violence. We must continue to invest in prevention, intervention and education programs that support our community. I am pleased with today’s funding announcement, as it is critically needed to support at-risk youth and their families in Abbotsford. These programs compliment the work being done by the Abbotsford Police Department to suppress gang violence and keep our city safe.”
Abbotsford Community Services Society: https://www.abbotsfordcommunityservices.com/
Cariboo-Chilcotin Child Development Centre Association: https://cccdca.org/
Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre Society: http://cariboofamily.org/
Pacific Centre Family Services Association: https://www.pacificcentrefamilyservices.org/
BC School Superintendents Association: https://bcssa.org/
For more information on the Gun and Gang Violence Action Fund, visit: https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/cntrng-crm/gn-crm-frrms/index-en.aspx
Two backgrounders follow.
Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Recent measures to combat gun and gang activity
- The Government of Canada has invested $327.6 million over five years to help support a variety of initiatives to reduce gun crime and criminal gang activities under the Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence.
- From the $327.6 million, $214 million will be made available to the provinces and territories through the Gun and Gang Violence Action Fund over a period of five years. Through this fund, British Columbia will receive a total of $30 million over the full five years.
- The government’s Policing and Security Branch has developed a two-year contribution agreement with Public Safety Canada confirming approximately $5.3 million in Gun and Gang Violence Action Fund funding over two years:
- $2.6 million in 2018-19; and
- $2.68 million in 2019-20.
- Government took immediate action to better equip youth to resist getting involved in gang-related activity:
- provided $500,000 in secure annual funding to the Surrey Wraparound Program, which has supported more than 800 families and students to change their lives for the better;
- provided an additional $239,000 for the Gang Exiting and Outreach Program to support those seeking to exit the gang lifestyle;
- added $1.12 million in funding to expand the provincial Expect Respect and a Safe Education program, known as ERASE; and
- provided over $6 million in Community Crime Prevention grants to programs that mentor youth to resist joining gangs, support women escaping violence and help Indigenous families heal from intergenerational traumas.
- In the fall of 2017, B.C.’s Premier John Horgan announced $31.3 million for initiatives to increase public safety, including:
- more boots on the ground to go after violent drug traffickers and to disrupt drug supply lines in communities;
- enforcement resources for all police agencies through the Province’s anti-gang unit — including more funding for projects that specifically target traffickers to stem the flow of fentanyl in B.C.;
- increased support for police-based community outreach and funding for multidisciplinary approaches;
- collaborating mental health social services and police agencies to proactively reach those who are seen to be at elevated risk; and
- more funding to expand the BC Coroners Service’s Drug Death Investigation Team.
- Knowing gangs in B.C. are profit-driven and directly linked to the drug trade, government passed legislation to regulate pill presses and tableting machines, giving police more enforcement tools and making it more difficult for organized crime groups to produce and distribute illegal drugs.
- If passed, recent amendments to the Community Safety Act will give neighbours of nuisance properties – like drug labs and those commonly linked to gun and gang activity – a safe, effective and timely solution, and will give authorities more powers to shut down those sites.
Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Funding for the six gang-related prevention and intervention programs
- $977,966 to the Abbotsford Community Services Society’s Abbotsford In It Together: Supporting Youth Involved in Gang Activity program. This program focuses on youth aged 12 to 30 years, who have been or currently are gang-involved, or are at a high risk of gang involvement. A wide range of services are offered, including recreation, mentoring, parent education, mediation, outreach, counselling for families, school support, employment readiness, skills development, monitoring and re-entry support.
- $225,000 to the Abbotsford Community Services Society’s Enhancing Gang Prevention and Intervention Programming with South Asian Youth program to support South Asian female youth aged 12 to 22 years, who are at high risk of gang involvement by providing one-to-one services with a female youth worker. The program will provide mentoring services to both female and male South Asian youth who are at low to medium risk of gang involvement.
- $207,795 to the Cariboo-Chilcotin Child Development Centre Association’s Future Forward program to provide protective factors to youth who are at high risk of involvement in crime and recidivism, focusing on youth aged 13 to 25 years with recent engagement in crime and gangs, and youth aged 12 to 18 years, who are at risk of involvement in gangs. The program will provide youth with customized plans including skills training, work experience and connections to mental-health supports and cultural development activities.
- $173,361 to the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre Society’s Youth and Family Navigator program to engage directly with gang-involved and at-risk youth aged nine to 30 years (and their families) in and around the community of 100 Mile House. The navigator program will provide youth with assessment and connections to personalized supports, including mental-health counselling, mentoring, drug treatment, training, skill building, cultural development and work experiences.
- $450,000 to the Pacific Centre Family Services Association’s Crime Reduction and Exploitation Diversion program to support individuals aged nine to 30 years in the Capital Region District, with a significant focus on Indigenous youth, who are at high risk of gang involvement or are displaying gang-related criminal behaviours and who are gang entrenched. The program will provide individualized support plans, which may include counselling, family counselling, life skills support, prosocial group activities and psychoeducational groups.
- $580,000 to the BC School Superintendents Association’s Support for High Risk, Vulnerable Youth in BC Communities program to co-develop educational/crime prevention curriculum and tools with Indigenous partners. In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the program will create learning resources for educators that connect to the new provincial K-12 curriculum that will align with First Nations curriculum content and First Peoples Principles of Learning. Online resources will also be explored for students and parents designed to increase awareness of local gang and drug issues, gang recruitment strategies and available supports for at-risk youth.
Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
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