TORONTO, Nov. 17, 2014 /CNW/ - The Provincial Advocate for Children has launched an annual listening tour to hear from children and youth on how Ontario is living up to its commitments under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
The announcement was made in the lead-up to the "National Day of the Child" on November 20th. This day marks the 25th anniversary when the United Nations adopted the UNCRC.
"From improving access to mental health services to lifting First Nations children out of poverty, we have more work to do to support and protect Ontario's children and youth," said Irwin Elman, Ontario's Advocate for Children and Youth.
During the week of November 17-22, the Advocate will visit eight communities (Alisa Craig, London, Windsor, Belleville, Manitoulin Island, Thunder Bay, Perth and Ottawa) to meet with more than 200 children and youth at children's mental health centers, First Nations communities, schools, child welfare agencies, youth justice facilities, and community centres.
"Children and youth have a lot to say about their lived experiences and their aspirations for the future. We must use this important milestone as an opportunity to recommit to the UNCRC and provide opportunities for the voices of children and youth to be heard," said Elman.
Findings from the annual listening tours will inform the Provincial Advocate's "Alternate Report" on Ontario's progress. The Advocate's report will be submitted to the United Nation's Committee during Canada's next review, scheduled for 2018.
Adopted in 1989, the UNCRC changed how children were viewed and treated. The human rights treaty outlines the inalienable rights of every child in three key areas: provision, participation and protection. Today, the human rights treaty has been ratified by 194 countries, including Canada. To ensure that countries are living up to their commitments, they must periodically appear before the United Nation's Committee on the Rights of the Child to report on their progress.
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 Provincial Advocate may identify systemic problems involving children, conduct reviews and provide education and advice on the issue of advocacy and the rights of children.
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.
Fast Facts: A Snapshot at Children and Youth Living in Ontario
- 1 in 7 children (or 393,000) live in poverty.1
- 1 in 4 First Nations children live in poverty.2
- In 2009, approximately 18,000 children were under the care of the state.3
- 1 in 5 children or youth have a mental health challenge.4
- Campaign 2000: Report Card 2011, Pg 2, at: http://www.campaign2000.ca/Ontario/reportcards/2011Ont.%20Report%20Card_Feb2012.pdf2
- Campaign 2000: Report Card 2002, pg. 6 at http://www.campaign2000.ca/reportCards/national/C2000ReportCardNov2012.pdf
- Office of the Provincial Advocate. 25 is the New 21, 2012 at http://provincialadvocate.on.ca/documents/en/25istheNew21.pdf
- Ministry of Children and Youth Services at: http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/specialneeds/mentalhealth/index.aspx
SOURCE: Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth
For further information: Media Contact: Eva Lannon & Associates, 416.300.9721 or [email protected]