June 16, 2010
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The provincial government has selected two demonstration sites - one on the Acadian Peninsula, the other in Charlotte County - as it moves forward with its plan to improve services for children- and youth-at-risk; children and youth with complex needs; and youth involved in the criminal justice system.
The sites will be established in the spring of 2011 in school districts 9 and 10, respectively. They represent the latest step in the provincial government's implementation of sweeping reforms to services and programs for vulnerable children and youth.
This child- and youth-centred approach, known as the Integrated Service Delivery (ISD) framework, is intended to provide a seamless range of services involving several departments involved with children and youth, including Social Development, Education, Public Safety, Health and Justice and Consumer Affairs.
The provincial government has been developing the ISD in response to recommendations made by Bernard Richard, the ombudsman and child and youth advocate, in two 2008 reports: Connecting the Dots: A report on the condition of youth-at-risk and youth with very complex needs in New Brunswick; and, Ashley Smith: A report of the New Brunswick Ombudsman and Child and Youth Advocate on the services provided to a youth involved in the youth criminal justice system.
"The child and youth advocate's reports were an urgent call to action for our government," said Social Development Minister Kelly Lamrock. "These demonstration sites are an important step in making widespread improvements to how the government serves at-risk children, youth and their families."
Lamrock was the minister responsible for a government-wide committee given the task to review the issues raised by the child and youth advocate. The provincial government's response to Richard's recommendations and plans for implementation were outlined in the February 2009 report: Reducing the risk, addressing the need: Being responsive to at-risk and highly complex children and youth.
The demonstration sites, as a first step toward provincewide implementation, will allow for better information to reach children, youth and their families about available programs and services as well as improve cross-departmental assessment, intervention and treatment.
One goal of the ISD framework is to establish a centralized regional intake system for children, youth and their families. This is hoped to provide an easy entry point for services, programs and interventions through screening, assessment and referral services.
Co-ordination among treatment providers and social services agencies will reduce duplication of services and programs and improve case follow-up.
Child and youth development teams will have a central role in providing co-ordinated and comprehensive case management and intervention within the school, community and family contexts. Team members will include professionals from a wide variety of fields, including education, health and social service sectors.
"Recent research and government evaluations have shown that integrated services and programs have a positive effect on child and youth outcomes, such as increased confidence and well-being, reduction in disruptive behaviour and conflicts with the law, and an increased access to needed services," said Lamrock. "I thank all the front-line professionals, stakeholder groups and public servants who are putting the demonstration sites into effect. Together, they have worked with the provincial government while being committed to serving young people and their families in New Brunswick."
MEDIA CONTACT: Tracey Burkhardt, Department of Social Development, 506-444-2416.