Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 25, 2013


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Partnerships Will Provide Emotional Support, Money Management Skills, Preparation for Employment: Howard
Manitoba youth transitioning out of foster care will have access to mentors and professionals to help them with emotional support, money management and preparing for their first jobs thanks to a new partnership between the General Child and Family Services Authority and a variety of youth serving organizations, Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard announced today.
“Children in care often face challenges growing up that don’t end just because they get older,” said Howard.  “I want all our children to be able to look forward to a future full of opportunities.  With this partnership, we are connecting these young people with adults dedicated to ensuring they reach their full potential.”
The new $230,000 initiative, called Building Futures, is a two-year pilot led by the General Child and Family Services Authority in collaboration with the Canadian Mental Health Association, Community Financial Counselling Services Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters of Winnipeg and Youth Employment Services.  In its first year about 200 young Manitobans between the ages 16 and 25 will have access to money management and debt counselling, personal and general counselling, emotional support and employment preparation training as well as mentors.
“We have to do more to assist youth who are becoming adults while in our care and we’ve been gathering evidence about what works and listening to our youth who’ve been sharing their stories and ideas about how we can do better,” said Jay Rodgers, CEO of the General Child and Family Services Authority.  “I’m very excited about the initiatives we’ve put in place through our community partnerships as we are creating a new network of supports youth can access.  We owe it to our youth to do everything we can to create opportunities for positive life outcomes as they emerge into adulthood.”
The pilot project was developed by the General Child and Family Services Authority (CFS) based on extensive research, consultation and practice over the last few years.  The various components of the strategy will be rolled out through various CFS agencies, starting in Winnipeg.
A donation of $30,000 has been provided to Building Futures from the RBC Foundation.
“Many Canadians, one-in-five, experience mental illness during their lifetime with many of these disorders beginning in childhood or adolescence,” said Grant Simons, regional vice-president, commercial financial services, RBC.  “We hope our donation from RBC Foundation is a step towards making key services more accessible to those in need.”
The community partners participating in the new initiative are:
  • Canadian Mental Health Association – providing youth service navigators, counselling and therapy;
  • Community Financial Counselling Service – offering financial literacy;
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters – providing mentors for youth; and
  • Youth Employment Services – offering employment and education information.
A youth service navigator at Canadian Mental Health Association - Winnipeg Region will work with youth who have left care to identify their needs and connect them to services that are available.  In addition to the youth service navigator, the range of services through the community partners includes mental health counselling, assistance with finances, opportunities for mentorship and guidance to access education and employment opportunities.
The minister noted the Manitoba government also provides support for children aging out of foster care by covering all living expenses if they are pursuing education including housing, textbooks and meal plans, up until age 21.  Since these supports became available in 2006, the number of youth accessing them has risen to about 500 a year.
More information on Building Futures is available at
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The Province of Manitoba is distributing this release on behalf of the General Child and Family Services Authority and the Government of Manitoba.

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