Friday, May 15, 2009

Child Advocate to Clarify Youth in Care Right to Choose Community Advocates

The Foster Care Council of Canada has written a letter to the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth in Ontario to learn what rights children in foster care have with regard to community based advocates and communications between them and the youth in care.

The letter is shown below and the response will be published upon receipt from the Advocate's Office

The Prescott Russell Services for Children and Adults is telling her not to talk to me in any way because I am not the official Advocate from your office.

QUESTION:
Part I - Does section 103 (b) (ii) of the Child and Family Services Act afford a 15 year old, Crown Ward the right to choose, utilize, and communicate with any adult person in the community (within Canada) to act as their unpaid, volunteer personal advocate or representative, who at no time will be in physical contact with the youth, the staff members of the agency, the foster parents, or family members, to speak on the youth's behalf with the Society they are under the custody of, so long as the youth has provided the agency and the youth's chosen advocate/representative with a release of information waiver -- personally signed by the youth -- which gives the agency and the chosen advocate/representative permission to discuss her life/case/matters and which has been mailed to both the chosen advocate/representative and the child-welfare agency.

Part II - Can the agency tell the youth not to communicate with the youth's chosen advocate / representative over e-mail, phone, or msn, or is that a violation of section 103?

RELEVANT STATUTE PROVISIONS TO CONSIDER:


Child and Family Services Act

103. A child in care has a right,

(b) to speak in private with and receive visits from,

(ii) another person representing the child, including the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth,

(c) to send and receive written communications that are not read, examined or censored by another person, subject to subsections (3) and (4). R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11, s. 103 (1); 2007, c. 9, s. 25 (2); 2009, c. 2, s. 8 (1).

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