FREDERICTON – One of the most important rights children have is the right to live free from all forms of harm, that’s according to a new report released Tuesday by New Brunswick’s Child and Youth Advocate.
The report, titled “Keeping Children and Youth Safe from Harm in New Brunswick: A Five Year Strategy by New Brunswickers,” outlines 102 action items to reduce harm in the province.
“This is not the typical report because if you look at it there are no recommendations,” child and youth advocate Norm Bosse said Tuesday.
The plan, which is slated to take place from 2015-2020, is divided into five “categories of harm,” which are themselves broken into 11 priorities.
READ MORE: Family violence against N.B. children above national average
Among the ‘action items’ are:
Develop principles of engagement for youth receiving services from Social DevelopmentContinue to require the completion of Children Rights Impact Assessments as part of the development of major policy and legislative proposalsSupport the entry of young people in careers in the skilled trades through the New Brunswick Teen Apprenticeship Program, Youth Employment Fund, One Job Pledge and Student Employment and Experience DevelopmentContinue to focus on youth at-risk as a priority of the New Brunswick Crime Prevention and Reduction StrategyDevelop Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik language curriculum to support the survival of the First Nations languages at the High School level to provide First Nations students in the public system an opportunity to learn their language and heritageImplement campaigns to raise public awareness of the need and importance of adoption/permanency for children in the permanent care of the province of NBUndertake a study to assess the attitudes and experiences of sexual assault and the climate it creates on a University campusExplore the inclusion of mental health in the 10-year Education Plan
Each action also identifies a government department or community organization that is taking the lead in implementing it.
The report comes after two years of discussions and round-tables with several government departments, community groups, academic researchers and youth representatives.
READ MORE: Report calls for community-based approach to youth crime reduction
Amanda Richard, one of the youth members, told reporters she felt that the group listened to what she had to say, and included the youth feedback in the final report.
One area in particular she pushed for was the right of every child to have a family.
“Every child deserves to have a family and that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a mom and dad and a white picket fence,” she said.
“It’s having adult support in your life.”
She added that the report highlighted that Aboriginal children are six times more likely to end up in the child welfare system.
Social Development Minister Cathy Rogers announced that an interdepartmental working group would be created to evaluate the goals of the report. It would meet once a year, and in then in the 2018-19 fiscal year, it would complete a formal evaluation of the strategy.
The evaluation would form the basis of any future five-year plans.
See the full report below:
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