The Representative for Children and Youth supports children, youth and families who need help in dealing with the child-serving system.
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Dr. Jennifer Charlesworth is British Columbia's Representative for Children and Youth. She was appointed as Acting Representative effective Aug. 31, 2018, and confirmed in her appointment as Representative on Oct. 1, 2018.
Dr. Charlesworth has worked in the B.C. social and health care sectors since 1977. She lives in the traditional territories of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples. She is an award-winning teacher, author, activist and a parent of two vibrant young women who remind her daily of the power and promise of young people.
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You can have a family member, friend, support worker or someone else you trust with you when you call the Rep. Otherwise, you can have that person call the Rep for you. For the fastest result, it is best to either call by yourself or have someone with you when you call. That way you will be connected with an advocate within one business day. Callers requesting advocacy services for you will be responded to within three business days.
One of our advocates can listen to your concerns and assist you with having your voice heard and considered by your social worker. If you are still not happy with the social worker’s decision, an advocate can help you to file a complaint about the decision and ask that the decision be reconsidered. You do have a right to have your say about decisions that are being made on your behalf.
Each region has staff known as “dispute resolution consultants” who listen to complaints and help resolve issues. You can find out how to contact the dispute resolution consultant for your region by asking your foster parent or caregiver, or by calling the Ministry of Children and Family Development customer service line at 1-877-387-7027. You can also contact us to get an advocate to assist you to connect with the dispute resolution consultant, or suggest other ways to voice your concerns.
Part of the Representative’s role is to ensure that the programs and services in place are meeting the needs of children and youth in B.C. She has the authority to monitor and review these services and make recommendations for change if necessary.