Surrey Mounties say their new Family and Youth Resource Support Team (FYRST) aimed at helping children aged nine to 13 who demonstrate early signs of criminal or gang involvement has done 260 outreach visits and 58 client referrals in its first three months.
The early intervention and prevention initiative is part of the Surrey Anti-Gang Family Empowerment (SAFE) program working with children in Grades 4 to 7.
According to a Surrey RCMP press release, the program “seeks to enhance resiliency in youth and their families so they are better able to cope with the risk factors they are facing…FYRST works with youth when the first start to exhibit signs of poor decision making and need to find attachment to other resources and supports.”
It’s supported by Public Safety Canada, in partnership with the City of Surrey. The teams, comprised of a police officer and a youth worker, are mobile and can visit children and their parents at home or school.
“The FYRST program has been designed to compliment other community and police youth programs in the city,” says Surrey RCMP Inspector Wendy Mehat, Community Support and Safety Officer. “Enhancing and expanding programming for youth and families in Surrey will help ensure that a variety of supports are available to those in need.”
Police say the support and intervention is tailored to the needs of the child and family.
Constable Richard Wright noted that “in one case, after communication between a social worker and a family had deteriorated, FYRST was able to facilitate a meeting between the family and the agency to restore the support the family needed.”
The Surrey RCMP accepts FYRST program referrals from Surrey educators, community and the public at 604-502-6498 and E_Surrey_FYRST@rcmp-grc.gc.ca