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

Creston Takes Back the Night

Kootenai Community Centre Society is hosting their annual Take Back the Night march.

Domestic violence survivors to get new supports in Castlegar and Creston

A trauma-focused yoga program for women fleeing violence reaches Castlegar and Creston.

Rob Morrison visits Creston

Rob Morrison a nominee for the Conservative Party of Canada Kootenay-Columbia, was in Creston Thursday

Andrew Wilkinson BC Liberal leader visits Creston

Wilkinson expresses his concerns regarding the upcoming referendum.

Hats off to our sponsors!

It’s always a great feeling when you get to hand out some money instead of asking for it.

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

Most Read