Monday, November 21, 2011

Legislation to create independent Child and Youth Advocate

Advocate will also have broader investigative responsibilities 

The Alberta government introduced new legislation on November 21 to establish the Child and Youth Advocate as an independent officer of the Legislature.

Bill 25, the Child and Youth Advocate Act, will also expand the Advocate’s mandate to ensure those in the youth criminal justice system will have advocacy supports. The Advocate currently reports to the Minister of Human Services.

The proposed legislation will also establish the Child and Family Services Council for Quality Assurance, under the Ministry of Human Services, to help increase public understanding and confidence in the child intervention system.

In addition, the legislation will clarify publication ban provisions designed to protect the privacy of children in the child intervention system. This will include clarifying how public bodies may share personal information if it’s in the best interests of the child.

“This proposed legislation acts on the Premier’s commitment to establish a fully independent Child and Youth Advocate reporting to the Legislature,” said Human Services Minister Dave Hancock. “It will also bring about changes for a stronger and broader system to advocate for and support those vulnerable children and youth who are being served in government systems.”

Current Advocate Del Graff will assume the role of the independent Advocate. Successors to the position will be chosen by the Legislative Assembly.

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