Advocacy

istockphoto.com

Individual and Group Advocacy

The Advocate for Children and Youth office works on behalf of individual and groups of children and youth in care or custody of the Government of Saskatchewan. While the majority of advocacy services are provided to children and youth up to the age of 18, services are available for youth up to age 21 when they are receiving services pursuant to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, or Section 56 of The Child and Family Services Act.

The Advocate for Children and Youth Act directs the Advocate to try and resolve, where appropriate, any matter concerning a child or youth, or group of children or youth and a ministry or agency of the provincial government (e.g., First Nations child and family services agencies, community-based group home, foster home, etc.) using negotiation, conciliation, mediation, or other non-adversarial approaches.

While referrals may be made by any person and are treated as confidential, our office's chief focus is to advocate for children, youth and their natural advocates. This is to ensure the child or youth is receiving services to which he or she is entitled and that professionals working with the child or youth are meeting their obligations under the legislation, policy and practice applicable within each ministry or agency of the provincal government.

We strive to ensure that services provided to children and youth are founded in a Children and Youth First philosophy and that this philosophy is respected and valued within communities and in government legislation, policy and practice.

When we receive a call from a child, youth or someone calling on behalf of a child or youth, the caller is provided with a continuum of advocacy services, ranging from strategies to assist in self-advocacy to full investigation of his or her concerns. On average, our office responds to 125 new calls per month. All enquiries are provided a timely response and calls from children an youth are given special priority.

Systemic Advocacy

In the course of advocating for individual or groups of children and youth, an issue may be identified as systemic in nature when the number of children and youth presenting specific concerns increases significantly, or when the type of concern relates to deficiencies in legislation, policy or practice. Systemic issues may be further pursued by our office for systemic advocacy, review or investigation.