March 29, 2019 2:43 pm

Youth Diversion program receives grant of almost $400,000 to help at-risk youth

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The Ontario Trillium Foundation presented a $399,200 grant to the Youth Diversion group at the Kingston police headquarters on Friday.

The organization helps youth overcome challenges by providing specialized services and interventions to help youth at risk.

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The grant will allow Youth Diversion to hire a clinical case manager, increase services in rural communities and bring Family and Children’s Services on board. The funding will go towards a program called Intersections, designed to help youth who have come in contact with either their local police or Family and Children’s Services.

READ MORE: Youth share stories of homelessness and mental health struggles at one day summit

Youth coming into the program struggle with mental health issues, substance misuse, disability, or lack of access to appropriate supports and services, Shawn Quigley from Youth tells Global News.

“There are times when we receive calls from caregivers or community partners where child welfare is not the most appropriate agency to respond,” says Steve Woodman, executive director of Family and Children’s Services. “Families and youth are more likely to engage if they are connected to the most appropriate services early. Having Intersections available for these families will give them added support to address their needs.”

READ MORE: Early detection is key in youth mental health, Canadian Mental Health Association says

Quigley says the funding will help add additional staff and also support 300 young people across the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington areas.

“The OTF grant is an acknowledgment of the work that is being done by our Intersections Advisory Committee and our community partners to identify and address the challenges our children and youth are facing,” says Quigley.

Each year over a thousand children and youth enroll with Youth Diversion for their Intersections program. Last year about 1,400 people enrolled with the organization — their highest number so far.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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