Ontario's Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth supports report, Without Denial, Delay or Disruption and urges provincial and federal government to stand by their commitment to First Nations children

TORONTO, Feb. 10, 2015 /CNW/ - Today, a new report highlights the federal and provincial governments' ongoing failure to live-up to their commitment to Jordan's Principle to ensure that First Nations children receive equitable access to public services as other children in Canada.

Without Denial, Delay or Disruption: ensuring First Nations children's equitable access to services through Jordan's Principle was written by representatives from the Canadian Pediatric Society, the Assembly of First Nations, Unicef Canada, and a team of researchers from McGill University, the University of Manitoba and the University of Michigan. The report is available at: English version or French version

Many of the themes highlighted in the report mirror work led by the Advocate's Office and reflected in the Feathers of Hope: A First Nations Youth Action, which was written by young people. The Feathers of Hope report highlighted the stark realities facing First Nations children and youth, including the negative effects of residential schools; mental health issues; poverty; and drug and alcohol abuse. The report called on governments, First Nations leaders and other decision-makers to listen to First Nations youth, to partner with them, and develop strategies to end the cycle of hopelessness and despair faced by First Nations youth in northern Ontario.

"I stand with First Nations children and youth who have told my Office, time and time again, that the time for talk between politicians and leadership is over. Now is the time for action. First Nations young people are ready for change and they want to be part of solving the bigger issues facing their communities," said Irwin Elman, Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth. "I am urging the provincial and federal governments to uphold their commitment to First Nations children and begin the hard work needed to transform existing programs and services for First Nations children and implement Jordan's Principle."

Jordan's Principle was created and adopted in Canada as a tool to address disputes between different levels of government over the provision and funding of services for First Nations children. But too often, jurisdictional disputes have resulted in service gaps, disparities and denials, thereby placing First Nations children at risk compared to other children in Canada. For many First Nations children with special needs, they are placed in greater risk without timely and equitable access to medical treatment and other services.

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.

SOURCE Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth

For further information: Media contact: Eva Lannon, 416.300.9721 or elannonassoc@gmail.com


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