Addressing the Roots of Youth Violence and Mental Health

Over the next four years Josh will work with residents to…

Expand the proven FOCUS program to all police divisions in Toronto, including 13 & 53 Divisions in Toronto-St. Paul's, to address youth violence and mental health.

What is FOCUS?

The City's Furthering Our Community by Uniting Services (FOCUS) program is an innovative, collaborative risk-driven approach to Community Safety and Wellbeing co-led by the City of Toronto, United Way Toronto, and Toronto Police Service that aims to reduce risk, harm, crime, victimization and improve community resiliency and wellbeing.

FOCUS brings together the most appropriate community agencies at a weekly situation table to provide a targeted, wrap-around approach to the most vulnerable individuals, families and places that are experiencing heightened levels of risk.

A multi-agency team meets once a week to identify individuals, groups and places that are at a high risk of anti-social and/or criminal behaviour as either perpetrators or victims. By leveraging the skills and resources of diverse community partners, the initiative is able to respond to situations of high risk using multiple approaches — providing the community with the best possible interventions to respond to safety risks. The first element of response happens between 0 – 48 hours following a meeting.

Out of the 18 police divisions in Toronto (shown below), there are only 4 police divisions with FOCUS programs, leaving 14 without. To expand this proven program to all police division areas in Toronto, including 13 & 53 Divisions in St. Paul's, would cost $1,750,000.

FOCUS has achieved results

The FOCUS program has proven successful at mobilizing interventions targeted at emerging violence before it escalates into critical incidents by increasing the capacity of communities to address some of the root causes of youth violence.

  • A University of Saskatchewan paper found positive outcomes for the initial FOCUS pilot project in Rexdale
  • City of Toronto FOCUS outcomes stats for 479 individuals supported in 2017:
  • 93% connected to services
  • 88% of individuals had overall risk lowered

Cost Breakdown

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Address: 711 Merton St, Toronto, ON, M4S 1B4