Young People Have Rights.
At the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate our work involves advocating for and supporting children and youth receiving designated services from the government.
We listen to what young people have to say and help them exercise their rights and have their voices heard.
We stand by the young people we serve when decisions are made about them.
Below is a sample of what the some young people had to say about working with the staff in our office.
Feedback from the LGBTQ Community:
February 16, 2016 – Youth comment on Facebook:
“So I had to call the Child and Youth Advocate for something (because I’m in a SIL program) and I got in touch with an advocate, and as I was explaining to her why my name is different than the one in the system, I brought up that I’m transgender. She was totally understanding and brought up that while she doesn’t know much about the trans community, she is against transphobia and she brought up some recent events in the news and she was just super respectful and awesome. She even called me back because she realized that she forgot to ask me my pronouns!!!! Its little things like this that make my day. Something that could’ve been an uncomfortable phone call turned into a pleasant and enjoyable talk. The world needs more people like Donna.”
An advocate has been working with a young person who struggles with anxiety, particularly in meetings outside of her home. The advocate supported this young person in preparing for and attending a meeting with Children’s Services to review a decision about the services she was receiving. Moments after the advocate dropped the young person off at home, she received a message from one of the managers involved in the administrative review. The manager wanted the advocate to pass along how incredibly brave and courageous she thought the young person was to come to the meeting and speak about her issues. It seems that the young person was really seen and heard for who she is. Great news for the young person and a great choice by the manager to share positive thoughts that are so meaningful to this young person.
May 26, 2017
An older brother stepped up to act as the guardian for his two younger brothers, as a result of having been abandoned by the biological parent. He isn’t much older than his brothers, and with the economic downturn, the little family was struggling to make ends meet. Advocates at the OCYA helped the young men obtain supports to have their needs met so they can be successful and stay together. These three brothers are extraordinary in their resilience and in their connection to each other.
Hearing back from Young People:
Heidi, one of our advocates, received a call from a young man who was one of her first young people when she started as an advocate. He asked if she remembered him (of course she does!). The young man is now 20 and working full time. He asked Heidi what it takes to be an advocate. He said he didn’t have a good experience with Children’s Services, and he had hard times in foster care. He described to her the difference he experienced after becoming involved with her and with the office. He said he could really tell and feel we were there just for kids, and Heidi was on his team and that the advocate was “so genuine and pure.” This young person later participated on an interview panel for a round of advocate interviews and now he wants to make the same difference for other kids.
Our Youth Advisory Panel:
Woohoo we had our first actual Graduate! “It is important to note that the Youth Advisory Panel have stayed together for over two years, with consistent membership and participation. These young people have both individually and collectively demonstrated outstanding commitment to the Youth Advisory Panel, to each other, and to the work of the OCYA.”