There is more to the story...
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has released a report The Young and the Jobless. This report has been featured in the media today. The report found that only one in two young people in Ontario has a paying job. Young Ontarians are among the least employed in the country.
One thing that the Policy Alternatives report does not mention is which youth are facing unemployment or underemployed.
One group of chronically struggling youth are children with separated parents. Children with separated parents are less likely to complete high school, go to or complete college/university or succeed with finding or keeping employment as well as their peers.
It is not the answer to all youth under/unemployment – but part of the solution is taking a serious look at how our community’s family law system is failing our youth. The current family law system is completely process orientated, with lots of money going into mediation, ADR and faster resolution of the court process. Unfortunately, the problems facing children with separated parents are often community problems beyond any solution the child’s two parents can devise.
Perhaps further study is required – so to is action! The Ontario based Fair Parenting Project is advocating for a common parenting plan for children with separated parents. The goal of this is to allow services (school bus, daycare) and activities (soccer, music, group therapy) to cater to this common schedule.
These at-risk children need to be integrated into the community without a scheduling war between their parents. If our community wants our children and youth to have the social and life skills necessary to complete school and succeed in the workforce, then these children in particular need to be exposed to soccer, hockey, Scouts/Guides, therapy etc. Right now everything is a struggle for these children and all that they are exposed to is conflict. This is in large part because of scheduling disputes between their two homes and the community.
The Fair Parenting Project has had a successful 2 ½ year pilot project and is currently expanding into Ottawa and across Ontario.
More can be found at http://fairparenting.com/article/benefits-fair-parenting-project-0 . The common parenting plan is offered free on the website. Youth un/under employment is a long term problem requiring some long term solutions.