Message from the Minister of Children and Youth Services

Our government wants Ontario's children and youth to thrive. We want them to be safe, healthy and happy, to succeed in school and to have the opportunities they need to grow into responsible, contributing adults.

Our programs and services support children and youth to overcome mental health challenges, escape poverty, avoid conflict with the law, get jobs and successfully transition to adulthood.

While we are proud of our accomplishments, we know there is always more that can be done. That is why we are launching Stepping Up – A Strategic Framework to Help Ontario's Youth Succeed. It is a first-of-its-kind roadmap for Ontario that will help our government, and our partners, step up and do more.

Stepping Up strengthens our government's commitment to young people, identifies our priorities and will guide our decision-making. The development of Stepping Up is an excellent example of the benefits of collaboration. It builds on past consultations with youth and partners through the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence, Stepping Stones: A Resource on Youth Development and Ontario's Youth Action Plan. It also reflects input from 18 provincial ministries, the Premier's Council on Youth Opportunities, Dr. Alvin Curling, my Strategic Advisor on Youth Opportunities and co-author of the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence report, and partners in the youth-serving sector, including young people themselves.

Stepping Up is also a call for co-operation and action in all our communities for all of us to come together and work towards success. The report has the young person at its centre. It identifies 20 evidence-based outcomes and related indicators across seven themes that are important to Ontario's youth. To keep our focus on enhancing the well-being of our young people we will track these outcomes and indicators every year, and we will report annually on our collective progress.

I want to thank everyone who contributed toward this important framework. Together, we can ensure young people in our province get the support and opportunities they need to reach their full potential. The future of our province depends on it.

Teresa Piruzza
Minister of Children and Youth Services - February 2013 to June 2014

Message from the Premier's Council on Youth Opportunities

In March 2013, the Government of Ontario established the Premier's Council on Youth Opportunities to engage youth, young professionals and community partners to ensure that young people have the tools they need to succeed.

The Council is made up of a dynamic group of youth and young professionals from a diverse range of cultures, communities and backgrounds. We work to ensure that programs and supports for youth reflect the needs of young people across the province. Although it is difficult to be fully reflective of the wants, needs and expectations of the voices of young people and their communities, we work extremely hard to connect with, listen to, work with and learn from Ontario's youth.

When we were asked by the government to review Stepping Up - A Strategic Framework to Help Youth Succeed, we did so carefully and thoroughly. We recognize the importance of this document and we believe that it can be a document that provides leadership to build a better Ontario for young people. The Council believes that this framework must inspire action – as it speaks to the realities that young people are facing in their communities. Stepping Up should be used a conduit for the transformation of how the province delivers the services and supports that make a difference for youth and their families.

The Council is very pleased with this framework and we feel that it reflects our insight and advice. In developing Stepping Up, the government is taking an important step to help youth succeed. By identifying the outcomes that matter to youth in Ontario today, the government has clearly outlined areas where young people are thriving and areas where more needs to be done.

The Premier's Council on Youth Opportunities feels strongly that for this important framework to have the desired impact, all partners must also step up to help youth be the best they can be. We invite community partners, young professionals and youth across the province to use Stepping Up as a roadmap to create opportunities to help all youth succeed.

We are all involved in supporting success for all our young people. The Council looks forward to walking the journey with you.

Lekan Olawoye, Chair
Premier's Council on Youth Opportunities

Chelsea Edwards, Vice-chair
Premier's Council on Youth Opportunities