TORONTO, Sept. 9, 2013 /CNW/ - The Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth will have standing at the inquest into the death of Jeffrey Baldwin that starts today. The inquest will examine the events surrounding Jeffrey's death and determine what could be done differently to prevent future child deaths. The Advocate's counsel will focus on the professional decisions and systemic issues evident in the case to assist the jury in making recommendations that will strengthen the Province's ability to protect children.
"Jeffrey suffered horrific abuse, but opportunities to prevent, detect and stop it were overlooked, ignored or squandered by people who came in contact with his family professionally and otherwise," says Irwin Elman, Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth. "This is the first public opportunity to examine the role of our care systems and ask the questions that need to be asked of those who were involved in his life."
The Advocate's office participates in every inquest involving the death of a youth or child connected to its mandate. As an Officer of the Legislature with a statutory mandate to elevate the voice of youth, the Advocate has convened an internal advisory panel comprised of young people from care who have experience with child protection services.
"Children and youth have a great deal of wisdom that comes from lived experience. We hope to bring their insight to the inquest," says Elman. "While much has changed since Jeffrey died, we must honour him by ensuring that the changes that have been made will truly prevent similar deaths."
Demonstrating his commitment to enhancing the inquest process, earlier this year the Advocate launched the first provincial child and youth inquest database to encourage greater public scrutiny and improve accountability. The database provides Ontarians, including policy makers and service providers, with access to information about inquest recommendations related to the deaths of children and youth within the Advocate's mandate since 1995. The provincial inquest database can be found at: http://provincialadvocate.on.ca/inquest/en/home/
The inquest will begin today at 9:30 a.m. at Macdonald Block, Erie, Thames and St. Clair room, 900 Bay Street, Toronto.
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 Provincial Advocate receives and responds 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 identifies systemic problems involving children, conducts reviews and provides 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:
Tel: 416-420-7728, Email: Fiona_taylor@live.com