|To address provincial rates of youth incarceration that were consistently higher than in other provinces, the Fredericton Police Force established the position of Youth at Risk Coordinator in 2008. The Coordinator works within the Fredericton Police Force’s Neighbourhood Action Team (also referenced in this catalogue). He or she acts as a critical link with youth and community members, encouraging a preventative, proactive, holistic, coordinated approach to reducing criminality and developing social assets.
The Youth at Risk Coordinator has assisted in the development of the Community Youth Action Team (CYAT), a group of government agencies and not-for-profit organizations. Using screening tools and shared information from CYAT, the Fredericton Police Force identifies individual youth at most risk of becoming career criminals. The Youth at Risk Coordinator then helps to develop intervention and support strategies for these youth, their parents/guardians and police. The Coordinator also provides crisis intervention.
|The Fredericton Police Force has an overall objective of putting earlier interventions into place. These interventions aim to reduce the workload of frontline officers, reduce recidivism rates among youth offenders, develop social assets, and reduce incarceration and criminality. The Youth at Risk Coordinator supports these objectives by developing policies and procedures, educational strategies and school programs. The coordinator helps to deliver school programs, works with police on youth-related files and engages with youth, parents, guardians, school personnel and crime prevention officers on youth-related issues.
|Feedback on the Youth at Risk Coordinator has been very positive from CYAT community members, the Fredericton Police Force and the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate. Having one coordinator review all youth files ensures that measures and sanctions are applied consistently. An evaluation of this initiative is planned but has not yet taken place; however, many positive indicators have already been observed. Through CYAT, strong partnerships have been established with service groups, educators and the Department of Social Development. This has resulted in earlier intervention with youth at risk and the diversion of more youth from the criminal justice system.
|The Fredericton Police Force created the full-time civilian position of Youth at Risk Coordinator by reassigning an existing position from its Neighbourhood Action Team. An additional office was also needed.
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