Youth Support Team
The Youth Support Team (YST) utilizes the experience of a police officer and a youth strategies coordinator with an educational background in Social Development and high risk youth to identify prolific and chronic youth. Prolific youth are youth who engage in routine criminal behaviour and chronic youth are youth who come into contact with the criminal justice system due to social issues. The team works in a variety of ways to connect with these identified youth. This may entail becoming part of the youth's care team and advocate for services and help facilitate the discussion of youth needs. This also may entail in some instances the use of enforcement. Enforcement allows youth to be held accountable for their actions. Having a police officer and strategies coordinator team allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the issues which promotes a broader array of solutions.
YST targets Prince George’s most vulnerable and high risk youth, between the ages of 12 to 17 years old. These youth are informally referred to the team internally (with the creation of a police file or contact with a Member), and externally via community partners such as Ministry of Children and Families, Prince George Urban Aboriginal Justice, Carrier Sekani Family Services, group home staff, Nezul Be Hunuyeh Child and Family Services, the Representative for Children and Youth, and the Native Friendship Centre.
YST is increasing communication between the RCMP and service providers specifically the Ministry of Children and Family Development, group home contractors and Youth Probation. Having an effective line of communication to discuss specific youth and youth issues are pivotal to this initiative. The Youth Team engages in what the team call
intensive liaison work. This involves engaging with care teams in an aim to address the youth’s high-risk behaviour that is contributing to police interaction.
The YST uses harm reduction, community partnership, and relationship-based approaches under the principles established in the YCJA, with the goal of reducing these youth’s instances of contact with police, steering youth away from criminality, and utilizing Extra Judicial Measures whenever possible. Based on these approaches of relationship building and partnership, the YST are often assigned the chronic missing youth files, and are able to conclude them quickly and effectively.
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