Province not matching City's support for children and youth|
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While the City of Toronto has made progress over the past six years in
improving the well-being of children and youth, provincial underfunding leaves
many families still at risk.
That's the conclusion of the Annual Report of the City's Children and Youth
Advocate, Councillor Olivia Chow. The report, which was released today,
assesses the successes and failures in serving children and youth during the
first two terms of the Council of the new City of Toronto.
"Since amalgamation the City has shown its commitment by investing millions of
dollars in programs and services for families, but the Province has not kept
pace," Councillor Chow said.
The Advocate, joined by Councillor Joe Pantalone (Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina),
released her annual report at City Kids Child Care Centre which is under
construction at Bathurst and Front Streets. Because the provincial government
will not pay for the construction of child care facilities, the new centre that
will open in October was funded entirely by the City.
"This centre is a symbol of the City's commitment to families," Councillor Chow
said. "Provincial underfunding has seriously eroded the licensed child care
system in Toronto and has compelled City Council to pay 100 per cent of the
cost of hundreds of subsidized child care spaces. We have been urging the
Province to invest $18 million of the federal funding it's received but we have
had no response."
As well as dealing with service issues, the Advocate's Report reviews the
activities of the Children and Youth Action Committee (CYAC) and the Toronto
Youth Cabinet. It also presents a set of recommendations to City Council and
senior governments. Among the Advocate's key recommendations:
· Complete implementation of the recommendations from the 2003 CYAC Action Plan
· Maintain advocacy efforts directed at the Province to ensure that Toronto
receives its fair share of federal funding for quality licensed child care.
· Seek ways to integrate the provincial Early Years Centres into the continuum
of services for children and families including licensed child care.
· Support the creation of a youth-led advisory committee on youth-police
· Move towards allocating a minimum of ten per cent of affordable housing
developed under City programs to youth.
· Convene an inter-governmental task force on youth justice services that will
report its recommendations within six months.
"I hope that services to families will become a major issue in the municipal
and provincial elections," Councillor Chow said. "Many families are still at
risk and we must continue to make their needs a priority."
Media contact: Councillor Chow 416-392-4044 (office)