The Ministry of Children and Family Development says its long-awaited rapid response team is finally up and running.
Up to 50 young people living on the Downtown Eastside have been identified as high-risk, but the Rapid Response Team will handle the files of the 10 most vulnerable youth, who inject drugs.
Judy McGuire with the Inner City Safety Society criticizes the ministry for only including government-funded service providers, and not community groups like hers.
“Could it make a difference? Well maybe for a few of these kids if they actually manage to get the services they need, but I don’t think they have the right players at the table, and I’m not confident this is money well spent. I’m certainly not confident it is going to make the kind of difference it needs to, because you need to respond far sooner.”
The team was first announced back in May, in the wake of the children’s watchdog’s report about Paige, an Aboriginal teenager who died of a drug overdose on the Downtown Eastside after she aged out of government care.
On Thursday, Minister Stephanie Cadieux says there is no new money or new staff dedicated to the team.
“While there isn’t any additional dollars going into the operating of this model, it provides for the opportunity in a much more direct way, to make changes or add additional resources if required.”