Children, Seniors and Social Development
June 28, 2019

New Children, Youth and Families Act Becomes Law

New legislation that ensures the protection and care of children and youth comes into effect today (Friday, June 28). The new Children, Youth and Families Act which replaces the Children and Youth Care and Protection Act, is child and youth-centred, family-focused and culturally responsive. The new Act enhances the focus on maintaining children and youth within families where it is safe to do so and expands opportunities to create permanency for children and youth who are declared in need of protective intervention.

The Children, Youth and Families Act contains significant updates aimed at strengthening service delivery to Indigenous children, youth and their families by recognizing the importance of preserving an Indigenous child or youth’s cultural identity, and providing for the involvement of Indigenous governments and organizations in decisions that will keep children safe, and where possible, at home with their families and culture.

In addition, the new act expands the identification and support of youth in need of protection by increasing the scope of the duty to report to include youth aged 16-17, and removing restrictions so that all youth under a voluntary Youth Services Agreement can receive services until their 21st birthday. This will allow the Youth Services Program to be more responsive to the needs of youth and also allow them to complete high school before making the transition to independent living.

The Children, Youth and Families Act was developed following extensive consultations with more than 30 organizations, including those representing Indigenous governments and organizations. More information about the new act can be found in the backgrounder below.

Actions to improve child protection services help to deliver on commitments in The Way Forward to deliver better services and better outcomes for residents. The Way Forward outlines all actions the Provincial Government is taking to achieve a strong, diversified province with a high standard of living, and can be viewed at www.thewayforward.gov.nl.ca.

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“Every child and youth deserves to grow up in a safe and caring environment. The new Children, Youth and Families Act provides the legislative framework to ensure that the appropriate services and supports are in place to protect and care for children and youth who are at risk. This new act also reflects upon our commitment to work together to promote the health and well-being of our children, youth and families.”
Honourable Lisa Dempster
Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development

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Learn more
Children, Youth and Families Act

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Media contact
Gina MacArthur
Children, Seniors and Social Development
709-729-3768, 730-2977
ginamacarthur@gov.nl.ca

BACKGROUNDER

Highlights of the new Children, Youth and Families Act

  • Ensuring an enhanced focus on maintaining children and youth in their family homes by recognizing the role of family in promoting the safety and well-being of children and youth;
  • Identifying and supporting youth in need of protection by increasing the scope of the duty to report to include youth, and by removing restrictions so that all youth under a Youth Services Agreement can receive services until they reach the age of 21;
  • Expanding permanency options for children and youth by establishing a process so that children and youth who are declared in need of protective intervention by a judge can be placed in the permanent custody of a person, such as a relative or other person significant to the child or youth;
  • Improving information sharing to assist in the protection of children and youth;
  • Establishing a licensing and regulatory framework for agencies, family-based placement providers and residential placement providers to increase accountability and provide options to increase the number of foster homes;
  • Strengthening service delivery to Indigenous children, youth and their families by:
    • establishing the ability for Indigenous representatives of prescribed Indigenous governments or organizations to be heard in court;
    • requiring specific placement considerations for Indigenous children and Indigenous youth who are in the care or custody of a manager;
    • requiring that notice of hearings relating to the supervision and custody of an Indigenous child or Indigenous youth be served to Indigenous representatives;
    • providing authority to delegate functions and services under the act to an Indigenous government or organization; and
    • requiring that a cultural connection plan for an Indigenous child or Indigenous youth who is removed from his or her family be included in the plan that is filed with the court for the Indigenous child or Indigenous youth.

2019 06 28                              1:45 p.m.