Manitoba is giving $200,000 to The Link for Youth programming in Thompson, Families Minister Rochelle Squires announced Monday.
The money is going to the StreetReach North team to provide enhanced mental health, cultural sports and programming to at-risk youth in Thompson and surrounding communities.
“Our government is committed to working collaboratively with service providers to offer a comprehensive, coordinated community response strategy that addresses the sexual exploitation victimization of children and youth,” Squires said.
“This grant represents another initiative in our whole-of-government approach to prevent and intervene in the sexual exploitation of children and youth.”
The Link operates a four-bed 24/7 Youth Resource Centre to provide a safe place for youth to stay for up to 72 hours. It includes access to food, clothing and emergency support.
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“The Link is proud to serve northern Manitoba and with these additional resources from the Department of Families, we will enhance our programs in Thompson,” said Kerri Irvin-Ross, CEO of The Link.
“The grant will increase our capacity to offer community-based services that will build on the strengths and resilience of youth while supporting their healing journey.”
StreetReach North is a program that uses a multi-disciplinary, cross-jurisdictional approach to prevent and address the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and youth.
The program has facilitated the safe return of 117 children who were deemed high-risk and documented close to 2,000 relationship-building opportunities between April and September.
“We thank The Link and Awasis Child and Family Services Agency for their StreetReach North partnership and for their ongoing commitment to help ensure the safety and well-being of vulnerable children and youth,” Squires said.