Access to justice is a fundamental Canadian value and is key to a fair and just society, and all Canadians must have the confidence that the justice system is there to protect and not harm them. Supporting Indigenous youth is important to meeting those goals as well as ending systemic racism and inequities throughout Canada’s justice system.
Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, joined by Member of Parliament for Winnipeg North, Kevin Lamoureux, announced the Government of Canada’s support to New Directions for Children, Youth, Adults and Families Inc. for their project: The Empower Project (T.E.P.). This program, which enhances one established in 2015, supports especially vulnerable Indigenous young women who are justice-involved and diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
T.E.P. will provide intensive and individualized support for these young women and girls in order to increase their chance of successful rehabilitation. Programming will include culturally informed substance abuse counselling, family and mental health support, as well as skill-building, pro-social and recreational activities. The Department of Justice is providing approximately $587,000 over four years, from 2020 to 2023, to this project through the Youth Justice Fund.
” Providing culturally appropriate and individualized services is key to helping young Indigenous women and girls who are involved in the justice system reach their full potential. This program is not only part of advancing reconciliation, it also seeks to reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system. This funding will assist New Directions to continue providing rehabilitation support to these young Indigenous women and girls living with the effects of pre-natal alcohol exposure.”
The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
“All young people deserve the opportunity to grow, and thrive. I want to thank New Directions for their focused, culturally sensitive care and support for young Indigenous people in Manitoba, particularly in projects like this one, which addresses people facing multiple vulnerabilities and barriers to success.”
Kevin Lamoureux, Member of Parliament, Winnipeg North
“New Directions is thrilled to have renewed funding for The Empower Project to enable us to support young women facing significant challenges as a result of their prenatal exposure to alcohol. In addition, these youth face systemic challenges resulting from colonization. Our focus is on helping them form secure attachments to Indigenous cultural supports and accessing mental and physical health supports to support a better future for these young women.”
Dr. Jennifer Frain, C.Psych.
Chief Executive Officer, New Directions for Children, Youth, Adults and Families Inc.
The Department of Justice Canada’s Youth Justice Fund is designed to encourage a more effective youth justice system, respond to emerging youth justice issues and enable greater citizen and community participation in the youth justice system.
With an annual budget of $4.5 million, the Youth Justice Fund supports projects that advance critical priorities such as reducing the rate of incarceration amongst young Indigenous Canadians.
In January 2021, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada was mandated to develop, in consultation and cooperation with provinces, territories and Indigenous partners, an Indigenous Justice Strategy to address systemic discrimination and the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the justice system.
In Manitoba, Indigenous children make up the vast majority of children in care. Within this group, more than 10% of those children have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, or FASD.