March 26, 2018
On March 26, 2018, Child and Youth Advocate Annette King provided the Minister of Health and Social Services with official notification that the Child Advocate Office will be launching an independent systemic review focusing on the experience of Yukon children and youth living in the Transitional Support Services program - group homes.
The Child and Youth Advocate Office is an independent office of the Legislative Assembly. The operations of the office are guided by the Child and Youth Advocate Act.
The Advocate has the authority to proceed with the review under s. 12(1) of the Child and Youth Advocate Act. This provision enables the Advocate to undertake a systemic review of issues brought to her attention through individual advocacy work, and that raises a substantial question of public interest. “I am satisfied that the requirements to conduct a review under s.12(1) of the Act have been met” states Annette King.
"I have made the decision to proceed with an independent review of the experience of children and youth living in group homes. This review is necessary to ensure that the best interests and needs of children living in care are being met" states Annette King.
Health and Social Services has committed to cooperating with the review.
The Advocate is not required to submit to Yukon government any terms of reference for this review, nor is she bound by any expectations from Yukon government with respect to an appropriate scope of work or timeline for conducting the review.
“I am confident that the Act gives me complete independence and authority over the scope, nature and timeline for the review” states Annette King.
In conducting the review, the Advocate has the right to any information in the custody or control of Yukon government that is necessary to exercise her powers and perform her statutory functions. Yukon government is required by law to disclose any information to which the Advocate is entitled, and must answer any reasonable questions regarding the information provided.
The Act also provides protection for any persons giving information to, or assisting, the Advocate. The Advocate will be guided by the Child and Youth Advocate Act, and the best interests of the children and youth, in releasing any findings of the review. "I intend to use the powers of the Child and Youth Advocate Act to the fullest extent, states Annette King.
“I will do my utmost to balance the public’s interest in transparency and accountability through this review, with the privacy rights of the children and youth involved. This balancing of interests will take place at every step of the review” states Annette King.
The issues of children and youth are the primary concern. Children, youth or others concerned about a child or youth receiving services within Yukon Government can contact the Child and Youth Advocate Office at (867) 456-5575.