The British Columbia government is putting more than 1.2-million dollars into services for at-risk youth on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux says the cash is new money, earmarked in the latest budget.
She says $800,000 will fund a dedicated adolescent services unit in the impoverished neighbourhood, focusing on teens caught in a cycle of intravenous drug use, homelessness and prostitution.
Eight new positions will be added to the unit, plus two more will be placed with a recently created rapid response team, while $400,000 will permit partner organizations to expand outreach services for youth.
The changes include plans for development of a low-barrier shelter for the most troubled youth in the area and follow a ministry review of the files of 124 young people around the Downtown Eastside.
A recent report from B.C.'s children's watchdog, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, chastised the ministry for allowing Paige, a 19-year-old Downtown Eastside resident, to fall through ministry cracks and die of a drug overdose.