The Office of the Children’s Advocate was launched in 1989 to provide advocacy on behalf of children and youth receiving child intervention services under the former Child Welfare Act. In 2004, with the change in provincial legislation to the Enhancement Act, our name was changed to the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate (OCYA).
The following chronology highlights OCYA milestones:
On September 1, 1989 The Children’s Advocate for Alberta was created through Alberta’s Child Welfare Act. Bernd Walter became Alberta’s first Children’s Advocate.
In 1994, John Lafrance was appointed Alberta’s second Children’s Advocate.
In 1997, Robert Rechner was appointed as Alberta’s third Children’s Advocate.
In 1999, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was endorsed by Alberta. The Children’s Advocate has continually referred to the UNCRC when advocating for children and youth.
1999 also marked the 10th anniversary of the Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA).
In 2001, John Mould was appointed as Alberta’s fourth Children’s Advocate.
In 2004, the Children’s Advocate initiated a community grant funding program. This program provided seed funding to community organizations for developing a greater capacity for advocacy.
In November 2004, the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act (the Enhancement Act) came into effect. This legislation redefined the mandate of the office. This mandate included representing the rights, interests and viewpoints of children receiving services under the Enhancement Act as well as the Protection of Children Involved in Prostitution Act (PChIP).
In 2004, the OCA changed its name to the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate (OCYA).
In 2006, the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate assumed responsibility for appointing and paying lawyers to represent children and youth in matters under the Enhancement Act and PSECA.
September 2009 marked the 20th anniversary of the OCYA.
In May 2011, Del Graff was appointed as Alberta’s fifth Child and Youth Advocate.
On April 1, 2012, the Child and Youth Advocate Act was proclaimed. This Act established the Child and Youth Advocate as an independent officer that reports to the Alberta Legislature.
On October 1, 2012, the OCYA released a special report on youth leaving care.
On November 1, 2013, an amendment was made to the Child and Youth Advocate Act which enables the Advocate to review systemic issues arising from a serious injury or death of a young person age 18 to 22 years who was receiving support and financial assistance under section 57.3 of the Child Youth and Family Enhancement Act at the time of the incident.
On May 14, 2014, changes were proclaimed to the Child and Youth Advocate Act which allows the Advocate to investigate systemic issues arising from the death of a child who at any time during the two year period immediately preceding the death received a designated service under the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act (other than an Adoption Service in Part 2 of that Act).
September 2014 marked the 25th anniversary of the OCA/OCYA.