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Child and Youth Advocate releases mandatory reviews concerning 15 young people

March 29, 2022

Report focuses on themes of coordinated service delivery, strengthening accountability, and providing services and supports to Indigenous young people

Edmonton…The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate released reviews into the circumstances of 15 young people who passed away between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021. This mandatory report is the largest this office has released.

The circumstances of the young people included in this report highlight common issues that persist despite numerous recommendations to government to address them. Strengthening the accountability of government to provide information to the public on the actions they are taking to address long standing and complex issues such as opioid deaths, youth suicide, Indigenous overrepresentation and cross systems supports for young people is required.

The issues we have highlighted over the years are not new and are referenced in a number of reports and presentations to government.

The Mandatory reviews includes two new recommendations:

  • The Ministries of Health, Education, and Community and Social Services should develop a process to ensure collaborative and coordinated service delivery for young people with intellectual and behavioural challenges and their families.
  • The Ministries of Health, Education, Children’s Services, Justice and Solicitor General, and Community and Social Services should report their progress to a Committee of the Legislature on recommendations made to them by the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate.

“The first recommendation deals with young people with intellectual or behavioural challenges and the ongoing supports they and their families need on a daily basis,” said Del Graff, Alberta’s Child and Youth Advocate. “Most of the young people reviewed in this report were not in care at the time of their passing, so it is important that existing collaborative policies and practices are applied consistently and adapted to their changing needs.”

The second recommendation focuses on government progress. Regular annual public reporting is essential, so children, youth and families experience better outcomes. The Child and Youth Advocate Act requires that a ministry must publicly respond within 75 days of receipt of a recommendation. It is the only requirement for government related to recommendations by the OCYA.

It remains deeply concerning that Indigenous young people continue to be overrepresented in government systems and the reviews that we complete. In this report, 11 of the 15 youth were Indigenous and eight of these Indigenous young people were provided services outside of their home communities. There continue to be concerns for Indigenous young people’s ability to receive services and supports and remain connected to their family, community and culture.

A copy of the reviews is available here: ocya.alberta.ca/adult/publications/investigative-review/.

The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate is an independent office of the Legislature of Alberta. We stand up for young people.

Media inquiries:

Tim Chander
Communications Manager
Office of the Child and Youth Advocate of Alberta
C: 780-499-3601; tim.chander@ocya.alberta.ca

Backgrounder: Notifications of Deaths and Serious Injury

Backgrounder - April 1 2021 - September 30, 2021 Child Death Reviews

Date published: 29-Mar-2022 View All News