SIMCOE COUNTY YOUTH JUSTICE ADVISORY GROUP (SCYJAG)
When the Federal Youth Criminal Justice Act came into effect on April 1, 2003, it introduced significant changes to the Canadian youth justice system. It places:
More emphasis on rehabilitative programming for serious and chronic offenders
Stronger reliance on community supports and reintegration programs and
Greater use of assessment, alternatives to custody and measures other than judicial proceedings
Special considerations for sentencing options for aboriginal youth (GLADUE)
These changes create an opportunity for local justice organizations to develop creative programs and dynamic organizational relationships that can effectively respond to the needs of their youth and the interests of their communities. Organizations in Simcoe County which are involved in youth justice have responded to this opportunity by forming the Simcoe Youth Justice Advisory Group under the Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS) Coalition of Simcoe County. The CYFS Coalition of Simcoe County was formed in 1999 and evolved from a commitment by children’s service providers to find ways to establish a streamlined, unified planning process that would lead to improved outcomes for children. This vision quickly expanded into a strategic, collaborative and integrated planning infrastructure allowing members to work both together and independently to meet the shared vision of improving the present and future wellbeing of children, youth and families. Work began on made-in-Simcoe action plans after the official launch of the Coalition in September 2003 and they have been building strong every since with now 40 agencies as members. The Coalition felt it necessary to have a continued youth justice presence to help focus efforts around prevention, diversion and community collaboration of resources and funding.