Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth comments on bill honouring Katelynn Sampson

TORONTO, Nov. 2, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, a bill was tabled in the Ontario Legislature seeking to change the way we view children and youth under the province's care and protection, and those receiving services under the Child and Family Services Act. An Act to enshrine Katelynn's Principle as the guiding principle for decisions affecting children would recognize every child in the child welfare, youth justice and education systems as an individual with rights who must be at the centre of all decision-making affecting them. The private member's bill was introduced by Monique Taylor, MPP for Hamilton Mountain.

Katelynn's Principle was named after seven-year-old Katelynn Sampson, who was killed at the hands of her legal guardians in 2008. Earlier this year, a coroner's inquest examining her death heard how multiple points of protection failed to interact with Katelynn.

My Office recommended Katelynn's Principle, with support from young people, to the jury in the belief that it would better protect children and youth. This principle was unanimously supported by all parties with standing at the inquest. I believe that every child, regardless of their age, should be viewed as an individual bearing rights – such as those contained within the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Child and Family Services Act – and who should be seen, heard, listened to, and respected. Katelynn's Principle embodies this belief in legislation.

The jury at Katelynn's inquest shared our belief.  Through Katelynn's Principle, the jury recognized that all children and youth have a valuable contribution to make about what is in their best interest and that in all decisions regarding practice, policy, and legislation that affect them, children and youth should have a say in what would work best for them.

It is my hope that the adoption of Katelynn's Principle will create a fundamental shift in our province's child welfare system that will be oriented towards a more child-centred approach.

It is also my hope that all members of the legislature, regardless of party affiliation, will support this bill that honours Katelynn and provides her with a legacy by allowing all of us to renew our commitment to every child under the province's care and protection.

Irwin Elman
Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth

About the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth
The Office of the Provincial Advocate reports directly to the Legislature and provides an independent voice for children and youth, including children with special needs and First Nations children. The advocates receive and respond to concerns from children, youth and families who are seeking or receiving services under the Child and Family Services Act and the Education Act (Provincial and Demonstration Schools).

The Office is guided by the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and has a strong commitment to youth involvement. For more information, visit: www.provincialadvocate.on.ca. For updates, read the Advocate's Blog and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

SOURCE Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth

For further information: Media Contact: Akihiko Tse, Communications, Media Relations Coordinator, (416)-325-5994, akihiko.tse@provincialadvocate.on.ca, Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth

RELATED LINKS
http://provincialadvocate.on.ca

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