New Children, Youth and Families Act Becomes Law

New legislation that ensures the protection and care of children and youth went into effect on Friday, June 28.

The new Children, Youth and Families Act which replaces the Children and Youth Care and Protection Act, is child and youth-centred, family-focused and culturally responsive.

The new Act enhances the focus on maintaining children and youth within families where it is safe to do so and expands opportunities to create permanency for children and youth who are declared in need of protective intervention.

The Children, Youth and Families Act contains significant updates aimed at strengthening service delivery to Indigenous children, youth and their families by recognizing the importance of preserving an Indigenous child or youth’s cultural identity, and providing for the involvement of Indigenous governments and organizations in decisions that will keep children safe, and where possible, at home with their families and culture.

In addition, the new act expands the identification and support of youth in need of protection by increasing the scope of the duty to report to include youth aged 16-17, and removing restrictions so that all youth under a voluntary Youth Services Agreement can receive services until their 21st birthday.

This will allow the Youth Services Program to be more responsive to the needs of youth and also allow them to complete high school before making the transition to independent living.