December 8, 2017
For Immediate Release

Mandatory Reporting to Child and Youth Advocate Falls Short

Tracey Perry, Children, Seniors and Social Development critic for the Official Opposition, said, “The government’s amendments to the Child and Youth Advocate Act fall short of what is needed to ensure mandatory reporting provisions are adequate.”

“Our Caucus proposed changes to make the mandatory reporting provisions stronger,” said Perry. “One of our improvements was accepted after it became apparent that the government’s legislation did not include psychological injuries.”

However, the government still left two glaring oversights.

“The government’s legislation covers children and youth receiving government services, but does not apply to the health care and education systems. The government’s legislation also neglects to cover serious ‘incidents’ that may not lead to injuries, even though the Liberals repeatedly promised that such incidents would be covered.”

“After the past Advocate reviewed several cases involving children and youth, she recommended that there should be mandatory reporting to the Child and Youth Advocate of deaths and serious incidents involving children and youth. Our government was in the process of following through when the government changed. The Liberals also promised to include serious incidents – in a 2014 resolution, in their 2015 red book, in their Throne Speech and in the Minister’s mandate letter. But when it came time to deliver on that promise, they chose not to,” said Perry.

“We support mandatory reporting and we are pleased that we were able to toughen the Act to include psychological injuries that would otherwise have been left out; but we are disappointed that the government didn’t go as far as they promised or as far as the 2015 Child and Youth Advocate was requesting. The more information the Advocate is given, the better she is able to protect children and youth in our province who may be vulnerable,” said Perry.

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Media Contact: Heather MacLean, Director of Operations and Communications
Office of the Official Opposition
(709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca