NB Government: Launch of State of the Child Report
20 November 2020
FREDERICTON (GNB) – On World Children’s Day, National Child Day and as part of the Child Rights Education Week, the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate released its annual State of the Child Report today. The launch occurred during a virtual workshop offered as part of the ninth edition of the International Summer Course on the Rights of the Child.
This year’s report, entitled Protecting Child Rights in Times of Pandemic, which includes six recommendations, gives a snapshot of some of the challenges New Brunswick children and youth will have to overcome as the province moves forward and juggles the new realities of public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while respecting child rights.
“This year’s emphasis is on learning from the negative impacts of the pandemic on children and youth, and preparing for the future with them foremost in mind,” said Child, Youth and Seniors’ Advocate Norman Bossé. “We must ensure that we strive to give each child the tools to develop their full potential while tracking the well-being of the most vulnerable children and giving a voice to youth to plan for the future.”
Bossé said the data collected in the report reinforces the fact that governments, community groups and leaders need to ensure that they are helping all young people, especially the most disadvantaged. The advocate called on the government to examine wellness through the lens of child rights, create a Provincial Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy, and work with youth to develop a Comprehensive Child and Youth Reimagine and Recovery Plan. He said much of the focus of the report is on meeting each child’s education and welfare needs and the importance of greater effort to achieve this in the face of losses incurred during the pandemic.
“New Brunswick school students were among the earliest and most seriously impacted over time in our country,” said Bossé. “While this measure likely contributed significantly to our early efforts at successfully containing the spread of the virus, the cost to children and families cannot be lightly dismissed. With the return to school this fall, the new normal in classrooms comes with a host of additional challenges for learners and staff. This report will make a significant contribution to our efforts to maintain educational opportunities and outcomes for children, while protecting all of their rights and advancing their well-being and best interests. With a focus commitment on learning from our success and shortcomings during this difficult period, I am optimistic that the province can continue to build on the improvements it has made in upholding children’s rights.”
World Children’s Day and National Child Day are celebrated on Nov. 20 each year to commemorate the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which provides that all children should be treated with dignity and respect, have a voice, be protected from harm, be provided with their basic needs, and enjoy every opportunity to reach their full potential.
Child Rights Education Week is held from Nov. 15 to 21 and aims to celebrate and promote the rights of children and youth.
The International Summer Course on the Rights of the Child is an annual event where professionals who work with children or promote children’s rights offer seminars in collaboration with Continuing Education of the Université de Moncton. Participants are given the opportunity to create and maintain connections by sharing their experience and knowledge with other experts in the field of defending and protecting child rights.
Heidi Cyr, communications officer, Child, Youth, and Seniors’ Advocate Office, 506-453-5599, [email protected]