FOR RELEASE – October 22, 2020
Child and Youth Advocate releases ten-year review
The 2020 Annual Report for the Yukon Child and Youth Advocate Office was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday October 22, 2020. The report, Advocacy Trails – A Ten-Year Review, highlights the achievements and challenges over the ten years of operation from April 1st, 2010 to March 31st 2020.
Highlights of the report include:
· 10 years of data showcasing the number of issues YCAO has addressed
· A summary of systemic themes
· Public Education
The number and complexity of issues reported to YCAO steadily rose each year, with 2019-20 seeing the highest number of new issues brought to the office. Over half of the advocacy issues addressed by the office are related to Family and Children’s Services programs, followed closely by education related issues. Nearly three-quarters of the issues have been for Indigenous children and youth.
The report outlines the role and authority of the Advocate, guided by the Child and Youth Advocate Act. “We are still working hard to help others understand the role of child advocacy and about the statutory obligations of governments to uphold children’s rights in decisions being made” said Advocate Annette King.
“Simply put, young people should be a priority. Unfortunately, the continued growth in the number and complexity of issues for children and youth indicates that this is not the case” said King.
With over 900 advocacy issues over ten years, many systemic themes have been identified. The Advocate may notify or provide advice to Yukon government departments about systemic or policy issues that emerge during the course of individual advocacy. Over the years, YCAO has advocated on important topics including mental wellness, out of territory treatment and ageing out of government care, and has completed a comprehensive review on group care in Yukon. Currently, YCAO is conducting a formal review on school attendance.
The Advocate highlights public education and tools for promoting participation of young people in policy development and decision making. “We want to ensure young people have a voice in decisions that will affect their life circumstances” said King.
This year YCAO launched an online and an in-person course to educate government departments, First Nation governments and the public about the role of the office and children’s rights. They are also promoting the development of a Yukon Child Rights Assessment tool to assess the impact of policy on children.
The annual report will be available at the Yukon Child & Youth Advocate Office at 2070 2nd Avenue, and online at www.ycao.ca.
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. Children, youth or individuals concerned about a child or youth receiving services within Yukon Government can contact the Child and Youth Advocate Office at (867) 456-5575.
Yukon Child and Youth Advocate Office