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Provincial government launches new $55-million fund to help Toronto youth

Over the next three years, the provincial government will invest $55-million into supporting at-risk youth through its recently announced Enhanced Youth Action Plan

The centrepiece of the recently released plan is the newly revamped Youth Opportunities Fund. Over the past couple of years, the Ontario Trillium Foundation has used $5-million a year to fund various youth focused programs in and around the Greater Toronto Area. Starting in 2016, it will be provided with an additional $1.45-million a year to allocate to initiatives in the city. 

According to Anne Machowski-Smith, a spokesperson for the province's Ministry of Children and Youth Services, the fund will start supporting communities throughout the province through a $6.495 investment. 

Machowski says that initiatives like the Enhanced Youth Action Plan and its predecessor, which was released in 2012, have had a significant impact on both the city and province. 

According to its statistics, the provincial government estimates that incidents of violent youth crime in Ontario declined by 30 per cent between 2003 and 2013. In that same time frame, the city saw a 44 per cent drop.

That said, both Machowski and her colleagues believe that there's a lot more work that can be done. 

"We cannot do it alone. We need to work through partnerships with our federal and municipal partners, businesses, youth leaders and service agencies. They are key players and can provide valuable insight and support," she says. "Only by working together will we be able to strengthen our communities and create safe neighbourhoods where our children have a better future."
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