November 18, 2002
(Health and Community Services)


The following statement was issued today by Gerald Smith, Minister of Health and Community Services. It was also read in the House of Assembly:

I rise today to acknowledge the official opening of the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate.

As honourable members will recall, last May, Lloyd L.W. Wicks, was appointed as our province's first child and youth advocate, and today he and his staff officially begin assisting children and youth resolve issues in relation to services they receive.

The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate is independent of the provincial government and reports directly to the House of Assembly. The advocate, Mr. Wicks, will focus on public programs and services that have an impact on children and youth under 19. He will also review enquiries and complaints concerning individual children and youth, up until the age of 19, and from youth who are in care or custody until the age of 21.

The advocate will also have the ability to conduct investigations where he is unable to resolve a matter through advocacy, mediation or other approaches.

The opening of this office represents an important milestone for children and youth throughout our province as they now have an advocate specific for them and their issues.

Newfoundland and Labrador has now joined other jurisdictions across Canada who have child and youth advocates. This province is proud to recognize in a very meaningful way the importance of children and youth in our province and in our society, and I am confident Mr. Wicks will be a strong advocate on their behalf.

2002 11 18               2:20 p.m.


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