Every year at this time a special day reminds us of our responsibility to the world’s youth. Nearly 13 years ago, the United Nations declared August 12 as International Youth Day to recognize the challenges that youth around the world face.
As B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth, I have a mandate to advocate for the young people of this province, and a commitment to let youth know they have a voice and that we are listening.
In 2008, the Government of British Columbia began the process of developing a new child welfare information system. Called Integrated Case Management (ICM), the system was to be user-friendly, provide for improved information flow and use of evidence for decision making.
The April 2008 Capital Project Plan for ICM states that the new system will “enable ministry staff to spend more time working directly with clients and less time on data entry, locating paper files and other administrative tasks.”
I would like to extend my gratitude to the workers in the child-serving system marking Social Work Week March 5-11. I encourage everyone to reflect on the work of social workers and their dedication and commitment to the safety and well-being of the children and youth in British Columbia.
October is Foster Family Month, the perfect time to honour the many people who are making a difference in the lives of children and youth and helping them build brighter futures.
Foster families provide a safe and secure environment to foster children in transition, from infants to teenagers, making a lasting commitment, often years long. When children are removed from their homes, many have experienced difficult times and are scared and wary. Earning their trust can be a slow process, but connections are important for all children and youth.
Today is a day to reflect on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, an entirely preventable, invisible affliction that leaves those born with it facing life-long challenges and frequently living marginalized lives.
FASD is caused by mothers drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Health Canada estimates that approximately nine in every 1,000 infants are born with FASD. Brain damage can include problems with learning, memory, attention, problem solving, vision and hearing. Those with FASD may not understand social situations, and their behaviour can be seen as challenging.
International Youth Day is held on August 12th of every year to celebrate the achievements of the world’s youth and to encourage their participation in positive contributions to society. It is also a day to reflect on the challenges facing youth today, and what progress we are making in British Columbia to address them.
The Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) has announced that it will be expanding the screening of families participating in the Child in the Home of a Relative (CIHR) program to include those families accepted prior to December 2007.
I am pleased and deeply encouraged that the Ministry is taking this step to help ensure the safety and well-being of all children and youth in the CIHR program.
I am so pleased that May 23–29, 2011 has been declared “B.C. Child and Youth in Care Week.” It gives us all the opportunity to reflect on the lives, the hopes and the futures of the more than 8,300 children and youth in B.C. who are in the care of government.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child establishes the right of children and youth to be protected from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury, abuse, neglect, or exploitation. As the Representative for Children and Youth, the convention is the basis of my work towards helping children and youth live in safer communities and families, free from harm and injury.