Government Committed to Child and Youth Commission, Op-ed
NOTE: The following is an op-ed from Karla MacFarlane, Minister of Community Services.
Good government puts people at the centre of all that we do. This commitment will be at the heart of the creation of a Child and Youth Commission in Nova Scotia.
This commission will be unique to our province and is the direct result of a recommendation from the Restorative Inquiry into the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children.
Other provinces have child and youth advocates in place and typically their work is driven by complaints, but the restorative inquiry recommended a different, more comprehensive alternative.
The Child and Youth Commission will be completely independent of government and will be guided by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It will have all the authorities and powers of a Child and Youth Advocate and will, in fact, expand on these powers and authorities.
The commission will also be proactive and will have a wide mandate to review services for children and youth provided by the departments of Community Services, Education and Early Childhood Development, Health and Wellness, and Justice. This means the commission will be looking at everything from child protection to educational programs to mental health and addiction services. Essentially, no area of government that relates to children and youth will be outside the commission’s scope.
Over the next few months, we will be engaging with those within the child welfare system, former children in care, community partners and others across the province. Their ideas and insight will help shape the commission.
The creation and design of this commission will be one of the legacies of the Restorative Inquiry into the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children. These learnings guide us as we shape changes in how our government serves the needs of the children in our province.