The importance and relevance of youth voice and engagement in the development and delivery of the services by the Advocate for Children and Youth's office and Saskatchewan’s child-serving ministries and agencies cannot be stressed enough in our work.
One of the eight Children and Youth First Principles, which guide the work of our office and have been adopted by the Government of Saskatchewan upon the recommendation of the Advocate , is that all children and youth in Saskatchewan are entitled to be heard. This principle is based on Article 12 of the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that young people should be free to voice their opinions and have a say in matters that affect them.
In theory this would appear to be a simple right to respect, but in reality many organizations – particularly government ministries and agencies – struggle to have youth voice heard in a meaningful and respectful manner.
Historically, the Advocate's office has worked with youth to develop strategies and opportunities to bring youth voice to the work of our work. Recently, we have focused the energy of advocacy to create strong linkages with established youth programs and organizations throughout the province and country. Most notably among these partnerships is our continuing work with and support of the Saskatchewan Youth in Care and Custody Network.