Green Party Leader Calls for Standing Committee on Children and Youth

Fredericton –On International Day of the Child, David Coon, MLA for Fredericton South and Leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick, is calling on the government to ensure the Child and Youth Advocate has a place to be heard by the Legislative Assembly.

“This week, I and many other community leaders and politicians across the country have been drawing attention to the right of the child to be heard,” said Coon. “In the same way that the children and youth of New Brunswick deserve to be heard by their government, so too does their advocate.”

The Child and Youth Advocate publishes annual reports on the state of the child in New Brunswick with specific recommendations for action, but there is no legislative committee designated to receive these reports and ensure their recommendations are implemented. Most of the Child and Youth Advocate’s recommendations have simply been ignored to-date.

“The Child and Youth Advocate has made important and urgent recommendations in the last few years that must be implemented,” said Coon. “He is a Legislative Officer and needs a mechanism for the Legislature to move his recommendations forward. Just as it is the responsibility of the Public Accounts Committee to ensure the Auditor General’s recommendations are implemented, there needs to be a legislative committee to follow-up on the recommendations of the Child and Youth Advocate.”

Past recommendations of the Child and Youth Advocate have included:
– Ending the use of criminal prosecutions as a means to access mental health services for youth
– Ending exposure of youth in the criminal justice system to adults through incarceration and transportation
– Ending the practice of shackling youth when transporting them
– Appointing an itinerant youth court judge to specialize in youth cases
– Building community capacity to deal with youth mental health needs