Ontario's youth service sector is fragmented: The youth-serving sector in Ontario is made up of federal, provincial, municipal and First Nations governments, schools, health providers, community organizations and parents. In most communities, there is often no formal network that brings these sectors together and it can be challenging for families and young people to identify available supports and services.
Some communities are developing collaborative youth strategies: There are some communities across Ontario that have joined forces to create environments that support youth growth and development.
What outcomes do we want to see for Ontario youth?
Why is this important?
Young people are better able to achieve their full potential when individuals, organizations and communities work together to support them. We must create youth-friendly communities and spaces that are accessible, inclusive, and prioritize the needs of young people. Increased academic, social, physical and emotional competence, reduced incidence of risky behaviours, reduced incidence of social exclusion, fewer crimes and mental health issues can be the benefits of community planning that is responsive to and inclusive of the needs of youth.
19. How can we support Ontario youth friendly programming?
We can support youth friendly programming in Ontario by:
- Making youth a priority: This means thinking about the services they most need and providing ongoing support to those that support youth.
- Recognizing youth needs: What types of activities, services and support matter most to young people? We need to strengthen the recognition of youth perspectives among community partners.
- Providing youth-friendly spaces: Youth benefit when they have access to safe spaces to grow, develop and connect with peers.
- Improving coordination in Ontario communities. This means making it easier to navigate supports, especially during times of transition.
20. How can we improve the information and coordination of Ontario’s youth services?
We can improve the information and coordination of Ontario’s youth services by:
- Making it easier to navigate supports by providing more online resources through social media and online directories such as Settlement.org or 211ontario.ca.
- Enhancing collaboration across sectors by integrating more collaborative services through government (federal, provincial, municipal, First Nations, schools, health services, community organizations, philanthropic sector and the private sector).