SPECIAL RELEASE – The Children’s Advocate releases the executive summary of the quality assurance review of the OCA’s Advocacy Services program
MEDIA STATEMENT – Children’s Advocate responds to the illegal leak to media of a confidential child death report
March 27, 2017
Statement from the Children’s Advocate
I am shocked and saddened that a confidential child death review completed by my office in 2014 has been unlawfully given to the media. Child death reviews completed by my office involve broad and intensive examinations of some of the most difficult circumstances Manitoba families can face.
SPECIAL REPORT – So Much Left to Do: Status Report on the 62 Recommendations from the Phoenix Sinclair Inquiry
November 24, 2016 – MANITOBA – Nearly three years after the provincial government received the final report of the Phoenix Sinclair Inquiry, only 29% of the recommendations are completed, according to a status report released today by children’s advocate, Darlene MacDonald.
“The government has been surprisingly quiet on what action they have taken to respond to the recommendations made in the final report of the inquiry,” explained MacDonald, “We feel the public has a right to understand what improvements are being made in the wake of Phoenix’s tragic death. We want to encourage a more transparent public conversation.”
For the media summary, please follow this link.
To read the full status report (14 pages, plus appendices), please follow this link.
SPECIAL REPORT – On the Edge Between Two Worlds: Community Narratives on the Vulnerability of Marginalized Indigenous Girls
June 15, 2016 – MANITOBA – Reconciliation is not a destination, but a winding road on which we are all invited to walk, and each of us has an important role to play in healing our shared and difficult history, according to a narrative report released today by the Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA). In Manitoba, as in the rest of the country, citizens are embracing an era of community building and a time of righting the historical injustices that have been experienced by Canada’s First Peoples. The years of racist and gendered violence that has been allowed to fester and grow in our communities shows its terrible face in the numbers of girls who are targeted and exploited. And despite the historical injustices, Indigenous girls on the edge of womanhood continue to thrive and to be the primary influencers of the developing generations.
The OCA worked alongside respected Indigenous scholar, Dr. Marlyn Bennett, to gather the stories and the lessons from the community and to weave them together to create a tapestry of community narratives. The report out today is unique in many ways and highlights voices that are too often dismissed by mainstream public care systems. At times their words are empowering and gentle and at times they roil with understandable anger and passion.
For the full press release, please follow this link.
For the full narrative report (93 pages) please follow this link.
SPECIAL REPORT – The Changing Face of Youth Suicide in Manitoba and the Narrow Window for Intervention: Phase Two
May 26, 2016 -The majority of children and youth involved with child welfare in Manitoba are exhibiting known risk factors for suicide, according to a new report released today by Darlene MacDonald, Manitoba’s Children’s Advocate. However, it is important to look more deeply at what their behaviours reveal in order to better protect them from harm.
“Children and youth come to the attention of child welfare for many different reasons,” explained MacDonald, “and what we are seeing is that youth who are at highest risk for suicide are experiencing known risk factors for suicide more frequently, with more intensity, and for longer durations than their peers who are not dying.”
For the press release, please follow this link.
To access the full Phase Two report (20 pages), please follow this link.
SPECIAL REPORT – Don’t Call Me Resilient: What Loss & Grief Look Like for Children and Youth in Care
May 10, 2016 – In an effort to help children and youth in care come to terms with traumatic events, well-meaning adults in their lives can be hesitant to dig below the surface. Abuse, neglect, witnessing domestic violence, living with caregivers who are struggling with addiction, all of these can be traumatic for the child and can bring a family to the attention of the child welfare system. When home conditions deteriorate and children are brought into protective care, separation from parents, siblings, community, and familiar routine can also be traumatic events. The uncertainty that can follow in the life of the child, and the powerlessness many of them feel can further exacerbate the issues of loss and grief, according to a new report released today by Darlene MacDonald, Manitoba’s Children’s Advocate.
For the press release, please follow this link.
To read or download the full report (22 pages), please follow this link.
PRESS RELEASE – Statement by the Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates in support of Mental Health Week in Canada, May 2-8, 2016
May 6, 2016 – The eleven members of the Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates (CCCYA) speak out in support of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s 65th Annual Mental Health Week.
SPECIAL REPORT- Children Need Families, Not Courtrooms: Alternatives to Adversarial Litigation in Child Welfare
March 23, 2016
MANITOBA – Manitoba’s child welfare system is rooted in provincial child welfare legislation. Almost every single child who is in care of the child and family services system, is a subject of legal proceedings – with all children under temporary or permanent orders, being so ordered by provincial courts. Regardless of Manitoba’s attempts to “devolve” the child welfare system through the creation of culturally appropriate aboriginal child welfare authorities and agencies, one of the criticisms that many indigenous people have leveled against the child welfare system, is that it is premised within the very same legal and court system that has facilitated colonization and assimilationist laws and practices, including the laws that facilitated and enforced the residential school system, the 60s scoop, and contemporary child welfare trends that include gross overrepresentation of indigenous children in care.
As such, the Children’s Advocate partnered with respected indigenous legal scholar, Dr. David Milward, of the University of Manitoba, to undertake some initial research examining innovative alternatives to conventional adversarial child welfare litigation. In the report released today by the Office of the Children’s Advocate, Dr. Milward provides an analysis of both the benefits and the harmful consequences of adversarial court-based approaches to addressing child welfare issues.
For the Executive Summary, please follow this link.
For Dr. Milward’s full report: Children Need Families, Not Courtrooms: Alternatives to Adversarial Litigation in Child Welfare, please follow this link.
MEDIA RELEASE: Children’s Advocate Reacts to New Office Powers Proposed Today
December 3, 2015 –
MANITOBA –Nearly two years after the Phoenix Sinclair Inquiry recommended an expansion of our mandate, the government today tabled new proposed legislation that would expand services of the Children’s Advocate. The changes proposed today are a step toward the strong recommendations which have been made, but they do not fulfill what the Commission urged the government to do.
Read more here: Media release
SPECIAL REPORT: Children’s Advocate calls on government to address needs of 5,848 permanent wards in CFS care
MANITOBA – Manitoba’s children’s advocate, Darlene MacDonald, today called on the provincial government to address the long-term needs of the thousands of children and youth who are in care as permanent wards. In a newly released special report, Permanency Beyond Foster Care, The Office of the Children’s Advocate specifically examined what happens after a child becomes a permanent ward in Manitoba. In Manitoba, there are more than 10,000 children in care and of those, 5,848 are in care as permanent wards.
MEDIA RELEASE: National Child Day – November 20, 2015
On National Child Day, the eleven members of the Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates repeat their call to the federal government and provincial and territorial governments to come together and address the dire situation of Indigenous child welfare in Canada.
SPECIAL REPORT: Safe for Today: Barriers to Long-Term Success for Youth in Care with Complex Needs
July 16, 2015 – MANITOBA – The Manitoba child welfare system is not meeting the needs of youth in care who have complex needs, concludes Safe For Today, a report released this morning by the Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA). The detailed report is a follow-up to the OCA’s 2012 study that also examined youth in care with complex needs and the ability of the Manitoba child welfare system to provide support and services for this highly vulnerable in-care population.
Press Release: Children’s Advocate Act creates stand-along legislation for the Children’s Advocate but includes minimal service changes for children and youth. (Released June 10, 2015)
Today the government introduced the new Children’s Advocate Act. While we are pleased this new legislation extracts us from underneath the Child and Family Services Act, we are disappointed that fixing the concerns we have repeatedly raised on the limits of our legislation have again been delayed.
Special Release: Declaration of Reconciliation by the Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates (Released June 1, 2015)
With the closing events for the Truth and Reconciliation process underway in Ottawa, Manitoba Children’s Advocate, Darlene MacDonald, is honoured to have been invited alongside her counterparts across the provinces and territories to participate in this historical event for Canada. Read below the Council’s declaration of reconciliation and the promises we make as advocates for children and youth. The only way forward is to join together as a nation healing.
- DECLARATION OF RECONCILIATION (English)
- PRESS RELEASE (English)
- DECLARATION DE RECONCILIATION (French)
- COMMUNIQUE DE PRESS (French)
Special Report: The Changing Face of Youth Suicide in Manitoba and The Narrow Window for Intervention: PHASE I SUMMARY REPORT (Released May 6, 2015)
- PRESS RELEASE: The Changing Face of Youth Suicide in Manitoba (May 6, 2015)
OCA’s Quality Assurance program releases its SIR Program Evaluation – Executive Summary – March 2015
PRESS RELEASE – January 27, 2015 – Children’s Advocate disappointed government remains slow on improving legislation
PRESS RELEASE – October 8, 2014 – Children’s Advocate reacts to lack of detail on government’s progress on recommendations from the Phoenix Sinclair inquiry
Letter from Manitoba’s Children’s Advocate and other members of the CCCYA to the Council of the Federation regarding the need for a national dialogue about Indigenous children and youth (August 2014): English Version and French Version