If you are a young person involved with child and family services, you should know about the Children’s Advocate and get in touch with us. If you are an adult with concerns about the child welfare or adoption services a child or youth is receiving (or should be receiving) you should also know that you can contact us for information and support.
Anyone with concerns about the services a child or young person is receiving or not receiving from the child and family services community can call our office. We respond to concerns raised about services that fall under The Child and Family Services Act and/or The Adoption Act.
Many concerned adults contact the Office of the Children’s Advocate. They include parents, foster parents, grandparents, teachers and day care providers. If an adult contacts us, we act in accordance with the wishes of the child or youth as he/she is the primary focus of our advocacy services.
So, What happens when you call us?
An advocate will speak with you as quickly as possible. If an advocate is not immediately available, we will ask you to leave your name and number so we can call you back. Your call is confidential. No one will know you called our office unless you give us permission to tell the people involved. We will ask you the following:
- What do you need help with?
- What have you tried so far?
- How do you want us to help?
What can the Children’s Advocate do for you?
- Listen to your concerns.
- Provide information about the child and family services and adoption systems in Manitoba.
- Help you help a child by giving you information about how to solve the situation.
- Intervene in situations involving child welfare service delivery to young people when our help is requested.
What can the Office of the Children’s Advocate not do?
- Intervene in private custody matters, or in issues outside of our mandate.
- Act as legal counsel for children.
- Provide emergency child protection services, however, if we are informed of safety concerns about children, we will notify the appropriate agency to respond.
If you do have a concern about the immediate safety of a child/youth, please notify your local Child and Family Services agency to report your concerns. In Winnipeg, call (204) 944-4200 or outside Winnipeg 1-888-834-9767 (toll-free).
You may be nervous or afraid to call us, but each year thousands of people call us asking for help. No one has to know you called. If you need help calling us ask someone you trust to call for you. If you are in a foster home, group home or placed outside your home by a child and family service agency you have the right to contact the Office of the Children’s Advocate.
Always remember that when a decision is being made about you, you have a right to say what you think, be listened to and be a part of making that decision.
If you don’t agree with a decision, or feel that your views weren’t taken seriously, you have a right to be heard. You also have the right to have someone you trust help you say what you need to say.