OCYA Organizational Chart
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A hallmark of the OCYA’s vision and mission is ensuring that young people understand their rights and have every reasonable opportunity to participate in decision-making that affects them.
The work of the OCYA is centred around five areas: Advocacy Services, Investigations and Legal Representation, Engagement and Education, Systemic Advocacy and Quality Assurance, and Strategic Support Services.
Advocacy Services has a team of advocates based out of Calgary and Edmonton who help young people to understand their rights and have their rights and interests respected. Advocacy Services receives referrals concerning young people who have issues related to their planning, care and services in the child intervention and youth justice systems. Advocates work with or on behalf of young people focusing on resolving the young person’s issues.
Legal Representation for Children and Youth was established in 2006. This service provides independent legal representation for children and youth, under 18 years of age, who are receiving services or involved with an application under the Enhancement Act or PSECA. Legal appointments are made to private practice lawyers on a rotational basis.
With the implementation of the Child and Youth Advocate Act, the Advocate assumed the responsibility to investigate systemic issues arising from a serious injury to or the death of a child who was receiving a designated service at the time of the injury or death, if, in the opinion of the Advocate, the investigation is warranted or in the public interest. An Investigative Review is about learning lessons, rather than assigning blame.
The key purpose of our engagement and education efforts is to promote the rights, interests and well-being of children and youth in Alberta. Our staff provide presentations, workshops and training opportunities on almost anything about our office, Advocacy (and Advocacy Skills), Children’s Rights, and Indigenous Rights. We also host information booths and tables at conferences and learning events throughout the province.
All of the OCYA is involved in systemic advocacy work. This is not work that happens within one division. Systemic advocacy requires various approaches to address the systemic issues impacting young people. The OCYA’s systemic advocacy efforts focus on improving the circumstances for young people who are receiving designated services. Some examples of OCYA’s systemic advocacy efforts include:
Quality Assurance (QA) is responsible for facilitating processes and a culture within the OCYA aimed at ensuring quality effectiveness and continual improvements. QA staff review literature and research on best practices and this information is used to inform our practices.
QA staff work with the office’s divisions in examining their practices, incorporating stakeholders’ feedback and developing plans for improved practices. This area of OCYA is also responsible for linking the QA activities that are occurring within the office and to ensure these lead to service improvement. For example, youth who are 12 years of age or older and have had service from an advocate or LRCY lawyer are contacted and asked about their service experience. This feedback needs to be considered when policy is being developed. QA staff are also involved in analyzing data, identifying outcomes, reporting results, communicating findings and using all of this to facilitate improvements.
The Strategic Support Division is responsible for providing strategic advice and business operations for the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate.