The Office is staffed by a dedicated and diverse group of professionals. Staff are representative of the diversity of the population served by the Office and come from a variety of education and employment backgrounds, such as law, social work, education, child and youth mental health, community-based and public sector advocacy, law enforcement, social policy, communications, administration and human resources.

Jennifer Charlesworth

Acting Representative for Children and Youth

Dr. Jennifer Charlesworth is British Columbia's Acting Representative for Children and Youth. She was appointed effective Aug. 31, 2018.

Dr. Charlesworth has worked in the B.C. social and health care sectors since 1977. From 1980 through 1992, she served in front-line child welfare, social policy, program management and executive roles within government, and was engaged in formative work on deinstitutionalization, community inclusion for people with disabilities, women’s and girls’ health, mental health and youth services. 

Senior Management Team

Deputy Representative

Dawn Thomas was appointed Deputy Representative for Children and Youth in August 2015, having acted in the role since January 2015. 

Ms. Thomas returned to RCY in 2014 to serve as the Office’s Chief Investigator. She had previously worked as an RCY Investigator from January 2010 to January 2012, and then served for a year as the Associate Deputy Representative, Aboriginal and Community Relations and Youth Engagement. She then held the position Executive Director, Aboriginal Services, at the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Acting Deputy Representative

Alan Markwart was appointed Acting Deputy Representative for Children and Youth on March 13, 2018.

Alan initially joined the Representative’s Office in October 2015 as Associate Deputy Representative of Monitoring after more than 40 years working in justice and children’s services. He retired from the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) in 2013 as an Assistant Deputy Minister. He has extensive experience as a field practitioner, policy director, operational director and executive leader.

Executive Director, Monitoring

Colleen joined the Representative’s office in 2009 as a Project Manager and was later appointed to the position of Director, Monitoring, Research, Evaluation and Audit. In 2016, Colleen took on the role of Executive Director, Monitoring, leading a team that monitors the effectiveness and responsiveness of services and programs available to children, youth and families in British Columbia.

Executive Director, Indigenous Strategies and Partnerships

Lise Haddock joined the Representative’s Office in 2015 as Acting Director of the former Aboriginal Initiatives program area. She was formally named Executive Director of RCY’s Indigenous Strategies and Partnerships team in February 2017.

Lise has a strong background in Indigenous child welfare. For over 25 years, she was the Executive Director of a Delegated Aboriginal Agency and active in many areas of Indigenous child welfare initiatives both provincially and nationally.

Executive Director, Corporate Initiatives and External Relations

Linda has a strong background in the not-for-profit sector and government, working with children, youth and families facing many challenges – poverty, abuse, health issues and disabilities. Her skills in creating high functioning partnerships and collaborations and engaging multiple stakeholders have been key to the success of the organizations she has worked with to support the health and well-being of children and youth in Alberta and on the Island.

Chief Investigator

Carly joined the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth in January 2018 as Chief Investigator of the Critical Injury and Death team.  She has a strong background in investigations and extensive experience working for an Officer of the Legislature.  Carly has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Manitoba and a law degree from the University of Victoria. She was called to the bar in British Columbia in 2002.

Manager, Executive Operations

Carissa joined the Representative’s Office in December of 2014. In her role as Manager, Executive Operations, she is responsible for the daily flow of priorities and responsibilities for the Representative and the executive team.

Prior to this position, Carissa worked for the provincial government for 10 years where she provided executive support to provincial cabinet ministers in a variety of portfolios including the offices of Justice, Solicitor General, Attorney General, Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, and Environment. 

Executive Director, Advocacy and Youth Engagement

Blair Mitchell was appointed to the position of Executive Director, Advocacy in 2016. Blair joined the Representative’s office as an Intake Advocate in 2012 and has performed various functions on the team since then. He has nearly 20 years’ experience working directly with children, youth, young adults and their families in a variety of roles. As Executive Director, Blair oversees and supports the important work carried out by the Advocacy team which is spread across three office locations: Burnaby, Prince George and Victoria.

Executive Director, Strategy and Communications

Jeff Rud joined the Representative's office after four years as a B.C. government communications director, during which he was assigned to various ministries and worked on a number of initiatives including the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Prior to that, he worked for nearly 30 years as a journalist at several newspapers in Western Canada.