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WJS KEY Program in East Kootenays to close – the first of its kind

For over 20 years, the Kootenays East Youth (KEY) program has supported young offenders as they strive to make positive changes in their lives. A new model at the time of its founding, KEY was first residential youth justice program in B.C.

Youth justice programs like KEY offer support and structure for young offenders who the courts have determined would be better served outside of a custodial facility. Once at KEY, staff assist residents in developing improved life-skills and social behaviours as well as learning to balance school or employment.

Unfortunately, after a review of services in the province, the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) has decided that youth justice programs will no longer operate on a group home model. The KEY program will be closing over the summer.

We would like to recognize the hard work and dedication of the many staff who made the KEY program into the success that it has become. Their work has been instrumental in the lives of many at-risk youth in the Cranbrook community.

We will continue to work with stewards and management at WJS Canada, operators of KEY, to assist workers affected by the closure.