SAULT STE. MARIE -- Citing declining numbers, the Ontario government has announced it is closing 26 youth detention centres, including several in the northeast.

The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services said the province has seen an 81 per cent reduction in admissions to the facilities since 2005, meaning many of the facilities were under-utilized.

But Ali Juma, executive director of Algoma Family Services said he's concerned it will take local youth in need further away from their families.

"That's why so many of these programs had opened up, to begin with, is to have more of a community-based service as opposed to these youth being transferred to Sudbury or outside of their community," Juma said.

He said the decrease in admissions is a good thing but calls for the government to reinvest the funds from these centres into more supports for Ontario families.

Facilities affected by Wednesday's announcement include:

  • Justice Derek Holder House in Sault Ste. Marie
  • William H. Roy House in Sudbury
  • Mee-Quam Youth Residence in Cochrane
  • Nipissing Detention Centre in North Bay
  • Pineger Youth centre in Kirkland Lake
  • Project Dare in South River