When you call the Advocate for Children and Youth office to express concerns and/or request assistance for a child or youth, you will first be referred to the Early Resolution Advocate. She provides a timely response to all calls, with special priority given to children and youth first. Through interviews to gather information, the Early Resolution Advocate identifies the relevant issues, reviews the steps you may have already taken to resolve the issue or dispute, determines if a complaint or enquiry falls within the jurisdiction of our Office and then initiates the appropriate action.
We might offer information or referrals to other agencies or ministries to assist you in advocating on your own behalf or a child or youth’s behalf. Self advocacy services that provide information or clarification about government policies and procedures, as well as existing appeal mechanisms, may be offered to you. You may also be offered strategies to help resolve the matter yourself. If self-advocacy strategies do not appear to be effective, the Early Resolution Advocate may make some initial calls and conduct preliminary negotiations with decision-makers in government ministries on behalf of the child or youth in question.
If appropriate, the issue or dispute will be forwarded by the Early Resolution Advocate to one of our regional Advocates, who will try to make contact with the child or youth concerned.
Advocacy on behalf of the child or youth is usually initiated at the request of the young person. The Advocate will try to negotiate a resolution to the matters raised and may formally review and/or investigate the concern in accordance with The Advocate for Children and Youth Act if necessary. If a child or youth is unable to provide direction to the Advocate office, the Advocate will work to ensure that the child or youth receives all of the services to which they are entitled as outlined in provincial government legislation and policy. Once a file has reached this level, intervention may involve face-to-face meetings with the child, youth or others, as well as the facilitation of, and participation in, case conferences and meetings, and networking with multiple government ministries and organizations to resolve the issue or concern.