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

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

LNG Canada sponsors fast-tracked driver’s license training in Terrace, Kitimat

The $80,000 contribution is part of the company’s commitment to hire locally

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 5: Recap

Highlights and results from day 5 at the All Native Tournament

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read