Canadian CW research
St John's, NL: Advocate for Children and Youth, 176 pgs.
"In Canada, each province and territory individually defines the age of majority, which is when a person is considered by law to be an adult and anyone under that age of majority is considered to be a minor. In Newfoundland and Labrador the age of majority is defined as nineteen (19) years. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) defines a child as under the age of eighteen (18) years. At the age of nineteen (19) a person can legally purchase and consume alcohol and tobacco yet the age of consent for medical treatment is generally recognized as sixteen (16) years and the right to opt out of care is recognized as sixteen (16) years. I will not attempt to rationalize these discrepancies in age definitions, but I will clearly say that we as a society are failing our most vulnerable children who require our assistance and guidance into adulthood. Professionals who work with vulnerable youth who are sixteen (16) years of age and older face the delicate balance of providing opportunities for youth to participate in decisions about their health, safety and wellbeing while at the same time determining whether or not they have the capacity to make such life altering decisions. This investigation reveals the story of a child who was crying out for help. Due to deficiencies in the system, there were times when his voice was not heard, his rights were not respected and his right to services was not upheld. The incident which prompted this investigation was a fire which resulted in the tragic death of a man and I extend my deepest condolences to his family and friends. The goal of any investigation is not to lay blame but to identify what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening again. This investigation clearly demonstrates themes of deficiencies in services being provided by various government departments and agencies. It highlights several recommendations to improve the system and reduce the risk of another child experiencing the same. For reasons of confidentiality this child will be known as “John.” I would like to acknowledge John and his family for their commitment to this investigation in the hope that it will influence necessary changes. In John’s own words, he stated to me: “…I just hope this doesn’t happen to somebody else really, it sucks” (Transcript of ACY Interview, 2012, p.117)." (Advocate for Children and Youth, 2013, p. 3)