17 November 2015
FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Strategy for the Prevention of Harm for Children and Youth in New Brunswick was officially launched this morning at the annual State of the Child Breakfast hosted by the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate.
The launch is part of Child Rights Education Week, organized by the Child and Youth Advocate to encourage various stakeholders to promote and protect child rights.
“One of our government’s key priorities is helping families,” said Social Development Minister Cathy Rogers. “We want to be a partner in protecting our province’s most vulnerable, especially children and young people.”
The strategy is based upon foundational principles of children’s rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, in particular Article 19, and the rights of protection from all forms of harm. It was developed through an engagement process which brought together diverse leaders with expertise and backgrounds in business, academics, the not-for-profit sector and law enforcement.
“With this strategy, the province is leading Canada once again in the implementation of children’s rights,” said Norman J. Bossé, Child and Youth Advocate. “We are past the stage of education and monitoring, and are now actively planning to implement children’s rights and make these rights a lived reality. We are moving from knowledge to responsibility.”
The strategy outlines 102 action items in relation to 10 priority areas within five broad categories of harm to children. It provides indicators to serve as benchmarks that will be used in measuring the outcomes and the success of the strategy over the next five years.
“The real goal here is not to eliminate all types of harm against children, that may not be realistic, but we are committed to making measurable progress in reducing those harms,” said Bossé. “Our approach is strength-based and aims at improving resiliency. If harm should come their way, we need to make sure we have given children and young people the skills they need to address and overcome it. If we can do that, we will have come a long way.”
In order to help the government move forward with the strategy as well as to continue to facilitate ongoing co-ordination on child and youth-related matters, Rogers also announced the creation of an Interdepartmental Working Group on Children and Youth.
“The creation of this working group demonstrates our commitment to continue collaborating and supporting the implementation of the action items identified in the strategy,” Rogers said. “As co-chair for the Harm Prevention Strategy Roundtable, I thank all the members of the working group and all those who participated in one way or another to help develop this strategy.”
The working group, led by the Executive Council Office, will include participants from all departments which provide services to children and young people.