Posted on Jan 13, 2021
UCP MAKE CUTS TO VULNERABLE YOUTH IN MIDDLE OF PANDEMIC
CALGARY - In the middle of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, the UCP government has quietly cancelled funding for youth probation services that provided support for vulnerable youth.
Effective April 1, provincial funding for youth probation services in Calgary will be cancelled. As a result, 19 youth probation officers, three youth justice coordinators, and one Indigenous liaison position will be lost.
“This is an incredibly short-sighted move by the UCP that will only cost our community more in the long run,” said Irfan Sabir, NDP Justice Critic. “This program provided community safety, as well as supporting vulnerable youth that prevented them from reoffending and gave them the tools they need to succeed in their own communities.”
The service is provided by the City of Calgary through a funding agreement with the provincial government. The youth probation officers are registered social workers that connect youth to necessary resources to ensure that issues at both the individual and community level are addressed in order to reduce recidivism rates.
“This service provided huge benefits to society as a whole,” said D’Arcy Lanovaz, President of CUPE Local 38. “But ultimately, this decision leaves the children behind. This government has taken away support from these kids when they need it the most.”
The decision to cut the funding also comes at a time when contributing factors to crime, such as unemployment and substance abuse, are on the rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the middle of the pandemic, Albertans need more support - not less,” said Sabir. “Yet, the UCP have made the decision to cut support for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. It’s just heartless.”