Students at Shoreline Community Middle School in Great Victoria participate in the kick off tour on child and youth rights by the Representative for Children and Youth. (Lindsey Horsting/News Gazette staff)

Provincewide tour for child and youth rights kicks off today

Representative for Children and Youth uses the hashtag #Rep4Rights to reach out to communities

Bernard Richard, the Representative for Children and Youth (RCY) started an 18 month tour Tuesday to educate youth about their rights.

RCY is an independent organization the supports youth, young people and their families. They are using the hashtag #Rep4Rights to reach out to communities in B.C. to educate children – and adults – about their fundamental rights.

Team member Kimberly Grey said the #Rep4Rights program is as much to educate adults as it is for students, and she explained the importance for youth to know their rights and hold them responsible.

The tour kicked off in Greater Victoria at Shoreline Community Middle School, where roughly 50 students and teachers gathered in the school’s library for the event.

The focus of the tour is on Indigenous children that are over-represented in the child welfare system. Nine per cent of children in B.C. are Indigenous, and 60 per cent of those children are in care, Grey said adding the tour will try to stop at as many alternative schools, First Nations schools and band schools as possible in the next year and a half.

There are 7,000 children in care and half of them are in continuing custody orders or are Crown wards. The other half of children are considered in care for various reasons, some being because they need access to provincial services as a result of being denied private services, or are in the care of another family member.

During the stop at Shoreline, Richard talked to students about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is an international agreement that Canada joined 27 years ago. Richard talked about different articles within that and told the students about his favourite – Article 12 – the right of the child to be heard.

Grey and her colleague Brianna Dick also explained to students the importance of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and reasons why students may need to call the service.

There are nine advocates in the province, located in Victoria, Burnaby and Prince George and RCY receives roughly 2,000 calls annually. The tour aims to educate students ages five to 19 years old.

Trent Harder, a student at Shoreline, was in class when his homeroom teacher announced the RCY launch. Harder said he wanted to participate because he doesn’t think there’s enough representation for children’s rights.

The right to go to school is very important to him, but it starts with listening, he said, because sometimes children aren’t taken as seriously as adults.

“There’s people in high school who end up dropping out and living on the streets,” Harder said. “It’s all about listening, there are just people that get ignored and that can lead to something really harmful.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

lindsey.horsting@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Search for mudslide victim becomes recovery mission

Valerie Morris was swept away by a mudslide on Highway 99 near Cache Creek on August 11.

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Flooding hits Cache Creek trailer park again

Residents say some easy steps could be taken to alleviate ongoing damage.

Closure of Steelhead fishery a blow to Spences Bridge

Decision to close the fishery comes after prediction of fewer than 200 returning fish in 2018.

Painting of Ashcroft fetches more than $200,000 at auction

A 1965 painting of the town by E. J. Hughes exceeded pre-auction estimate at recent sale.

First responders, police march in funeral procession for Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

VIDEO: Ground crews keep a close eye on largest B.C. wildfire

Originally estimated to be 79,192 hectares, officials said more accurate mapping shows smaller size

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada paid for study to understand Canadian attitudes

These are the highest-paid actresses of 2018

In its list released this week Forbes said all 10 earned a total of $186 million before tax

Most Read