UNICEF Canada Welcomes Groundbreaking Youth Led Hearings at Ontario Provincial Legislature
TORONTO, ON (Friday, November 18, 2011) - UNICEF Canada is pleased to participate in the groundbreaking youth-led Youth Leaving Care Hearings which mark an important step in realizing the rights of young people living in care across Ontario.
These unique hearings will examine the challenges young people living in care face when they turn 18 and are no longer eligible for support through the Provincial Child Welfare System.
“The Ontario Child Welfare System should be informed by a stronger child rights-based approach,” says UNICEF Canada’s Chief Advocacy Advisor, Marvin Bernstein. “Realizing the right of all children in care to a strong and well-integrated support and service system, and enabling them to achieve their full potential is not only the right thing to do, but is a legal obligation on the part of the Province of Ontario.”
The Province of Ontario is the legal guardian of more than 8,300 children and youth who are connected to the child welfare system. Members of the Ontario Legislature, ministry staff, service providers and the public are expected to attend the hearings, listen and learn.
“Children living in care should be included and invited to participate, according to their age and maturity, at every stage of their case planning and discharge planning process,” says Bernstein. “Having a voice is critical to the development and empowerment of young people and contributes to them becoming responsible citizens.”
Bernstein will provide recommendations to ensure youth living in care have their rights realized in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child at the hearings on the morning of Friday November 18, 2011. Please see attached recommendations.
WHAT: Youth Leaving Care Hearings
WHEN: Friday, November 18th & Friday, November 25th, 2011, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
WHERE: Queen’s Park, Amethyst Room, West Entrance
UNICEF is the world's leading child-focused humanitarian and development agency. Through innovative programs and advocacy work, we save children's lives and secure their rights in virtually every country. Our global reach, unparalleled influence on policymakers, and diverse partnerships make us an instrumental force in shaping a world in which no child dies of a preventable cause. UNICEF is entirely supported by voluntary donations and helps all children, regardless of race, religion or politics. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca