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Manitoba Government News Release–As part of its ongoing work to build stronger, safer communities across the province, the Manitoba government is investing $34.7 million to expand the services and programming available to support children, youth and families, Families Minister Rochelle Squires announced today.

“Our government remains committed to creating a better life for all Manitobans,” said Squires. “This investment in supports for children, youth and families is an investment in Manitoba’s future prosperity.”

The Manitoba government is allocating $24.9 million to enhance the Child and Family Services (CFS) system in order to achieve better outcomes for children and youth in care.

The investment includes a $13.9-million increase to the single-envelope funding model, which provides agencies with autonomy and flexibility to manage and direct resources toward the best interests and needs of children, youth and families in their communities. An additional $11 million in one-time funding is being granted to help agencies address wage, recruitment and retention issues. The minister noted a further $7.3 million will support programming for youth transitioning from care.

“Our government is committed to supporting youth exiting care as they transition to adulthood,” said Squires. “As we continue working toward the development of a long-term, comprehensive strategy that will improve outcomes for youth transitioning from care, we are investing in programming that will ensure youth have access to the services and benefits they need.”

The investment will expand a full continuum of benefits including financial assistance, housing supports, life skills training, employment services, individualized case management and advocacy, noted Squires.

The minister highlighted that a $4.7-million investment in the Support for Young Adults Grant will support youth transitioning from CFS care to receive supports and services up to the age of 26.

In addition, further funding will support youth in obtaining housing while preventing homelessness. The Canada-Manitoba Housing Benefit (CMHB) – Youth Stream is also expanding on July 1, the minister noted. Young adults who were in care will now be eligible for this benefit until they turn 26. There is also an increased benefit of up to $350, with an additional $72 top-up for individuals whose rent does not include utilities.

Funding will support the development of youth mentorship hubs to support youth in accessing housing in order to prevent homelessness. Funding will also support the expansion of placements available under the Transition to Independent Living (TIL) program as well as support Resource Assistance for Youth’s (RaY) training program, Level Up.

“We at RaY appreciate this timely financial investment in our education and training program, we are proud to note that Level Up has a proven track record with supporting youth towards independence and long-term employment,” said Kelly Holmes, executive director, Resource Assistance for Youth.

In addition to enhancing the CFS system and supports for youth transitioning from care, the Manitoba government is also granting $2.5 million to community-based initiatives that provide wrap-around support to improve the overall quality of life for children, youth and families across the province.

“Our government recognizes that a better system of care starts with prevention and community focus solutions,” said Squires. “That’s why we’re investing in community-based initiatives that provide culturally appropriate services that support children and youth and help strengthen families and communities.”

Funding is being provided to Toba Centre, Gwekaanimad’s Community Helpers program, Mount Carmel Clinic’s Super Dads program, Ndinawe’s Tina’s Safe Haven and Granny’s House, which is supported by Blue Thunderbird, noted the minister.

“We are honoured to announce a second Granny’s House location. As we expand, our unwavering commitment remains to provide a culturally safe, meaningful, and judgment-free home where children, youth, and families can truly thrive,” said Dana Riccio Arabe, executive director, Blue Thunderbird. “With the ongoing wrap-around support from Gwekaanimad, our partnership collaboration, we empower parents and caregivers, prioritizing the well-being of our community’s children and working towards the prevention of their involvement in the CFS system.”

The minister noted the Manitoba government is committed to providing stable, predictable funding to CFS authorities and agencies to support the delivery of child welfare services, while ensuring they can address existing fiscal pressures.