Vulnerable youth and their families on the South Shore will soon have better access to more family services.
The Department of Community Services is partnering with Family Service of Western Nova Scotia to link families to more health, education and residential supports.
The new service will replace a residential program known as Empire House, which was the only shelter in the province being run by government instead of a community provider.
“Community-run organizations are best positioned to provide families with the services they need,” said Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard today, April 17. “This change will allow us to focus on our job to make sure our resources are being spent wisely to support healthy communities and keep kids safe.
“I look forward to working with the board to complete the next steps.”
The program will link youth and their families with health providers, school, housing, employment and other social and community supports. The new service model will begin in July to allow four youth at the shelter to complete the school year.
“This represents a very positive step forward in the province’s capacity to meet the needs of all Nova Scotians,” said Art Fisher, executive director of Family Service of Western Nova Scotia. “Transitioning this work to an intensively collaborative, community-based outreach model significantly increases our capacity in Nova Scotia to meet the needs of our most vulnerable youth, adults and families.”
Ms. Bernard praised staff at Empire House. Youth workers will be re-assigned within the department.
“Staff have been doing their best to serve youth since government inherited the shelter in 2007,” she said. “But now it’s time to let the community take over. They will be able to deliver more services more efficiently, and we will re-assign our four staff, putting their valuable skills to work in the department to support more young people in the community.”