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Canadian Children's Rights Council - Conseil canadien des droits des enfants

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Wrong solution to real problem

Toronto Star, Aug. 19, 2006.

Letter to the editor

re: Courts not answer for kids, critics say, Aug. 16.

Justice Minister Vic Toews has identified a real problem but is offering the wrong solution. Hauling children as young as 10 before the criminal justice system is more likely to compound whatever mental health problems they have.

Children's Mental Health Ontario has long advocated for Read More .. services to meet the ever- increasing numbers of children and youth who face mental health issues the Journal of Adolescent Health reported last year (November 2005) that physicians saw more than twice as many children with depression in 2002 than in 1995 and the World Health Organization forecasts a further doubling by 2020.

Our courts are already swamped with too many people of all ages who should be getting mental health treatment. Read More ..bust prevention programs and easier access to counselling services would help many troubled youth to avoid the criminal justice system for life. Increasing emphasis on the court system would put needed resources at the wrong end of the equation. Instead, the federal government should act to create the prevention-oriented Canadian Mental Health Commission recommended in the recent Senate report, "Out of the Shadows at Last. And guess what it would be cheaper!


Gordon Floyd, Executive Director & CEO, Children's Mental Health Ontario/Sant Mentale pour Enfants Ontario, Toronto