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.
In honour of Foster Family month, I offer my personal thanks to B.C’s foster parents, for their hard work and dedication to the young people they are helping.
There is a great proverb that says “one generation plants the trees, another gets the shade”. Know that the work you are doing to support and strengthen the lives of the children in your care is an investment that will result in a stronger and more resilient group of adolescents and adults, who will be better equipped to deal with life’s challenges.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day is an important part of the push to end this preventable disability. It is absolutely essential to increase awareness of FASD, of the danger of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, and of the need to support children with FASD.
In spite of society’s increasing knowledge about its effects, children continue to be born after being exposed to high amounts of alcohol while in the womb.
The Representative for Children and Youth welcomes many of the changes reflected in the White Paper on Family Relations Act Reform released on July 19, 2010. Changes that support hearing the views of children and youth in decisions that will affect their lives and better protection for children who are victims of domestic violence are necessary to create a rigorous system in B.C.
In honour of Adoption Awareness month, I wish to thank our province’s adoptive families for the commitment they have made to some of our most vulnerable children. The stability you provide for your children paves the way for them to become the successful contributing members of society they deserve to be.
Nine is the critical number as we mark International FASD Awareness Day today. The ninth day of the ninth month is recognized around the globe to increase awareness of children born at a disadvantage because their mothers drank during pregnancy. Just nine months of alcohol avoidance during pregnancy gives a child an opportunity for a full and healthy life in which he or she can fulfill potential.
On this day 10 years ago, the United Nations declared August 12 to be International Youth Day. Today's society is the youngest ever, with about 50 per cent of the world's
population aged 25 years or under. More than at any time in our history, youth action, inclusion, and full participation are integral to planning the future.