MB Government: Province Expands Supports for Vulnerable Youth

MB Government: Province Expands Supports for Vulnerable Youth

by ahnationtalk on November 12, 2019196 Views

Enhanced Addictions Services Help Address Growing Community Need: Stefanson

The Manitoba government is investing more than $4.9 million over three years to help at-risk or sexually exploited youth by improving access to mental health and addictions treatment that includes Indigenous-led supports, Families Minister Heather Stefanson announced today.

“There is nothing more important than protecting Manitoba’s children and youth,” said Stefanson.  “This funding will go toward new partnerships between community organizations and Winnipeg StreetReach to provide co-ordinated care for vulnerable young people.”

To help address the growing need for integrated access to mental health, substance use and addictions services among youth with complex, multi-system needs, the province will invest $751,000 over three years for the Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Centre (MATC) to work in collaboration with StreetReach.

Addiction rehabilitation counsellors and community mental health workers from MATC will be embedded into existing StreetReach outreach teams.  The two organization’s combined strengths in delivering mental health and substance abuse services and intervening in crises will help protect children and youth, Stefanson said.

Further funding totalling $370,000 over three years will support new partnerships with Indigenous organizations.  Together with StreetReach, these partners will integrate the traditional approaches of spiritual care workers and elders into a multi-disciplinary and mobile method of addressing complex social issues.

“MATC is pleased to partner with StreetReach to provide clinical mental health services to vulnerable children and youth,” said Darcy Cormack, board chair, MATC.  “The addition of mental health services to StreetReach will support youth in recovery and pursuing future opportunities.”

In addition to enhancing services available through StreetReach, the Manitoba government is investing more than $3.8 million over three years to enable Neecheewam Inc. to expand its Winnipeg facility and improve access to Indigenous-led healing, care and treatment services to sexually exploited youth.

Neecheewam operates the Strong Hearted Buffalo Women Crisis Stabilization Unit, a four-bed crisis intervention program for female and transgendered youth who are at high risk of sexual exploitation.

With new provincial funding, Neecheewam Inc. will undergo renovations to pilot a new, longer-term four-bed addition to its treatment facility.  The integrated team at StreetReach will be able to turn to Neecheewam for Indigenous-led treatment programming with a focus on individualized plans to meet the unique needs of each youth through traditional healing and cultural connection.

“Neecheewam has quietly been doing the best we can to offer best-practice, quality services to help children of all nations overcome barriers and this program expansion certainly fits within that mandate,” said Cory Campbell, executive director, Neecheewam.  “The new funding means we are able to provide a multi-pronged approach with both short-term and longer-term treatment because the young people we help have varying needs.”

Campbell added the new longer-term treatment will enable contact that is more consistent, role modeling and relationship building that helps young people express their voices and overcome their individual challenges.

A flexible admission process will accommodate youth who may need repeated short stays to build relationships and trust before they are able to commit to longer-term treatment.  This individualized program will also help address mental health and addiction needs including those caused by increased methamphetamine use.

Funding for this year is $800,000, with $1.5 million allocated for each of the following two years of the program. The minister said this funding for StreetReach fulfils recommendations made by the Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth recommending the expansion of StreetReach services in Winnipeg.  It also addresses recommendation in the VIRGO report including those to increase capacity through expanded community outreach services, significantly enhance the capacity of mental health and addictions services for children and youth, and priority funding for the expansion of services for children and youth.  The investment also aligns with key findings in the research report released under the Tracia’s Trust Strategy.

She also noted the funding for Neecheewam fulfils another recommendation made in the VIRGO report, which was to establish culturally relevant treatment for youth with mental health and substance use issues.

Funding for these initiatives is being provided under the Canada-Manitoba Home and Community Care and Mental Health and Addictions Services Funding Agreement.

To learn more about StreetReach, visit www.gov.mb.ca/fs/traciastrust/street_reach.html.  To learn more about Neecheewam Inc., visit www.neecheewam.com/.

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For more information:

  • Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.
  • Media requests for general information, contact Communications Services Manitoba: 204-945-3765.
  • Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-945-4916.


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