Better residential care and programming for youth

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Josh Pennell
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Minister lays out new provincial framework

A good day for the province’s most vulnerable children was how Paul Davis, minister of Child, Youth and Family Services, described it

Minister of Child, Youth and Family Services Paul Davis speaks with media at Confederation Building on Monday about changes to contracts for staffed residential care for young people.

Davis was speaking at a news conference at Confederation Building on Monday, where he announc­ed a new framework for staffed residential care for children and youth. Different than kinship homes or foster homes, staffed residential homes are buildings owned by people who get contracts to provide care. The group awarded the contract provides the staff and the programs for the children.

Davis said the new contracts will provide residential placement for more than 100 children and youths that offer a higher quality of programming and services for them.

“The service providers we’ve contracted with now have longstanding, solid track records in Newfoundland and Labrador,” Davis said.

Some of the contracts are for three fiscal years. In total, the negotiated contracts run $36 million.

One of those contract holders is Waypoints, an outfit that’s been providing care and programming for youth for more than 30 years.

Tara Laing, Waypoints chair, descirbed why the group is successful.

“It’s through a well-dedicated staff and intimate one-on-one relationships while looking at each and every individual, seeing what their challenges are and trying to help them get to the next stage,” she said.

Laing described the youth they work with as being from families that can’t care for them anymore or having specific medical challenges. More often than not, though, she said there’s simply a breakdown in support for the young people. Their role, she added, is to get them suited to participate in the province’s economy when they reach adulthood.

The difference between the way residential care is handled now compared to previously is the stability that will be provided for the youth through assets, programs and trained staff, Davis said.

In years past, there would be instances where certain youth could find themselves being cared for in hotel rooms. That won’t be the case anymore, Davis said.

 

josh.pennell@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Confederation Building

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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