#WeekendReads – Halton Youth Collective Program: Part 1

Welcome back to the #WeekendReads series! On Friday’s the Oakville Community Foundation will share reports, data and information to help you stay informed when it comes to the community, the charitable sector and more. Click here for previous installments.

The Halton Youth Collective Program released their new 2020 Pilot Study report, detailing the ins and outs of this life-changing program.

According to the report, between 800 and 1,000 youth transition away from child welfare services every year in Ontario as they’re “aged out” of the program. This transition is notoriously difficult due to the lack of support offered to youth no longer in the care of Children’s Aid Societies across the province. 

These youth often find themselves experiencing homelessness, unemployment, involvement in corrections, a lack of skills and a lack of education engagement and achievement. Specifically, these youth find themselves part of the NEET statistic.

What is the NEET statistic?

NEET – not in education, employment or training – is an indicator that has been used by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development since the 1990s. Countries all over the world, including Canada, keep track of this statistic to determine how many youth between the ages of 15-29 may be at-risk of being low-income or social exclusion.

Youth who have been indicated as NEET are not engaged in, and have no plans to be engaged in, education, employment or training. 

The Halton Youth Collective Program Report indicates that there are 3,640 youth aged 15-24 in Halton who are considered NEET, with 4.1% between 15-19 and 6.8% between 20-24. However, when looking at the youth in Halton Children’s Aid Society programming, this number is far greater at one in four. These NEET statistics tell us that this group is at greater risk for poor outcomes when “aging out” of care.

What is the Halton Youth Collective Program?

The program is a collaborative approach – or wraparound service – to address the issues that confront youth as they transition out of care. The Collective is composed of: the Oakville Community Foundation, Halton Children’s Aid Society, members of the Halton Granter’s Roundtable*, a team of youth and 25 youth-service agencies representing various social services. 

So what does this mean? The Halton Youth Collective Pilot Study launched with 25 youth transitioning out of the care of the Halton Children’s Aid Society and offered support related to education, employment, mental health, financial needs and more. The youth were also matched with a mentor to support them and offer advice, help and encouragement in their endeavours. 

Their goal is to have 90% of youth between the ages of 18-24 who are supported by the Halton Children’s Aid Society satisfied with their current or path to education, employment or training.

How did the Pilot Study go? Stay tuned next Friday to read more about the Halton Youth Collective Program.

*The Halton Granter’s Roundtable began as an initiative of the Oakville Community Foundation to bring together funders looking to identify ways to collaborate, address priority needs in the community and create impact for local charities and the community they serve. The Roundtable turned their sights to the issue of youth transitioning out of care and to finding a solution.