Request to fund staff for youth network initiative referred to county budget discussions

WELLINGTON COUNTY – A request to provide funding for support staff for a local Integrated Youth Services Network (IYSN) initiative will be considered by Wellington County through the 2021 budget process.

A request for the county to consider providing $70,000 annually for three years for a support co-ordinator, or $50,000 annually for three years for a youth engagement co-ordinator, was presented to the social services committee by IYSN director Cyndy Moffat in October.

“This is a very important and identified need in our service area, however it does not qualify for funding under any of our existing programs and this would need to be new 100% county funding to support this request in the 2021 budget,” explained social services director Eddie Alton in a report at the committee’s Nov, 18 meeting.

The IYSN is a grassroots community initiative led by the Rotary Club of Guelph, to bring an integrated youth services model to the city and Wellington County. The goal is to build a more effective health and social service system through integration and collaboration to better meet the needs of youth between the ages of 12 and 26 years in Wellington County and Guelph, Alton states in the report.

The network aims to provide a “one-stop shop” for youth designed to meet a wide range of needs including mental health, substance use, primary care, education, employment, training, housing and other community and social services. Three sites are set to open between now and spring of 2021 in Centre Wellington with a location in Fergus, East Wellington at a site in Erin, and Minto at a location in Palmerston.

A resolution to consider the report on the financial request and, if supported, that the costs be added to the 2021 to 2030 10-year plan for social services was approved by council at the recommendation of the committee.

“We’re forwarding it through for budget talks,” social services committee chair David Anderson told county councillors at their Nov. 26 meeting

Support for Community Living

Also at the Nov. 26 meeting, county council endorsed a Town of Minto resolution requesting that Community Living Guelph Wellington reconsider a decision to end programs offered at the Community Living Centre in Harriston.

“The day programs have served the residents of Minto with disabilities with education, employment skills and social activities as well as respite for caregivers. The full-time day program is a much needed service in our community,” states a letter from Minto town council regarding the closure.

The county endorsed a committee recommendation to support Minto’s resolution.

“I think that’s a program that’s very heavily needed in our community and we can’t let it go,” said Anderson.