TORONTO, May 14, 2014 /CNW/ - Today marks the first Children and Youth
in Care Day in Ontario and another major milestone for Our Voice Our
Turn, an initiative supported by the Office of the Provincial Advocate
for Children and Youth to examine the challenges youth face when they
age out of the care system.
"Children and Youth in Care Day is an annual opportunity for young
people in and from care to be heard and to send a clear message to
organizations, government and citizens: From the moment they begin
their journey in care, to the moment they leave, you need to be there
for them," said Paul, Youth Amplifier, Our Voice Our Turn. "Each year,
we plan to use this day to continue to push for changes to the child
welfare system, so that all young people in care are supported to
become successful adults."
On May 14, 2012, Our Voice Our Turn released My REAL Life Book, a report on the Youth Leaving Care Hearings that called for
fundamental change to the existing child welfare system. The report
also included a recommendation to declare a Children and Youth in Care
Day to raise awareness of the issues children and youth face, reduce
stigma and recognize children and youth in the care of the province so
that they are no longer invisible.
"The declaration of May 14 as Children and Youth in Care Day is a
tribute to the tireless efforts of the dedicated young people from
across the province whose strength and courage to talk openly about
their experience in care continues to have an impact today," said Irwin
Elman, Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth.
In MY REAL Life Book, young people wrote poignantly about the debilitating effects of being
left out of their own lives. From the moment they are brought into
care, to the events that sometimes take place once they are in the
sytem, they experience a loss of control that leaves some young people
rudderless when they leave care.
While some young people have positive experiences in care, others find
that care can be unpredictable in some settings, leaving them feeling
vulnerable, isolated and alone. Some young people who live in group
care wrote about witnessing violence, the use of physical restraints
and medication to manage youth behaviour. They also wrote about how
police are sometimes called to respond to situations, when perhaps
there are other skills and tools that can be used to prevent and defuse
In the coming year, the Provincial Advocate will be speaking to young
people about their experience in group care to determine how often
these incidents occur, the circumstances and the extent. The Advocate
will also partner with young people to find ways to ensure that care
providers offer a more consistent experience for young people that
focuses on the best outcomes for youth. This includes a supportive and
stable environment that focuses on personal growth and takes into
account the needs and preferences of children and youth.
For more information about The Office of the Provincial Advocate for
Children and Youth, Our Voice Our Turn or to read My REAL Life Book, please visit our website or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.
SOURCE: Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth
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