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Minister of Human Services responds to group home report

The Minister of Human Services supports an agency’s decision not to reopen an Edmonton group home and has outlined steps to address recommendations from a review of the home.

Safety of youth in care and the public are top priorities for our government, which is why a review of this group home was launched after hearing concerns from Edmonton Police and members of the public.

Government and E4C agreed that re-opening this home is not in the best interests of affected youth, the community, and the public as a whole.

The review outlined three specific areas where improvement was needed: community relations and engagement, training and orientation for group home staff, and recruitment and retention of qualified staff.

The government is taking steps to ensure the safe and effective operation of group home facilities across the province.

Group homes housing high-risk youth will be required to implement a “Good Neighbour Agreement” to ensure concerns of community members are taken seriously and acted upon.

Our government will work collaboratively with service providers to support the safety and well-being of the youth housed in group homes and will work with the police and the community to address broader safety concerns.

Government will also work with agencies to ensure the group homes in place are monitored and given the support they need. After years of underfunding, the system is dealing with significant challenges. Our government stabilized funding for Human Services in Budget 2015 and will be identifying how best to implement these recommendations in partnership with agencies.

“Public safety is a top priority for our government, and that’s why we will be working very closely with service providers and law enforcement in order to ensure that these facilities are operating safely and effectively.”

Irfan Sabir, Minister of Human Services

“E4C is proud of the work we do with our city’s most vulnerable youth. We look forward to working with the Ministry to strengthen our harm reduction, trauma informed work with our community’s high-risk youth while being responsive to our collective concerns for all community members’ safety.  It is in fact the safety concern for the youth which informed our decision to close this particular home”

Barb Spencer, Chief Executive Officer E4C

“Group homes are an important part of the justice system, so we are pleased that the Government of Alberta is taking steps to improve them.  These homes can help young people who come in contact with the justice system overcome the challenges they are facing.”

Supt. Mark Neufeld, Edmonton Police Service

Editor’s Note: Minister Sabir will be available to answer media questions at 11 a.m. in the Legislature Rotunda.

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