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Are They Listening? Summary of Government Compliance with Recommendations Issued under The Advocate for Children and Youth Act.
This special report provides Manitobans with information on the Manitoba government’s compliance with 23 recommendations that the Manitoba Advocate has made since the new Act came into effect on March 15, 2018, and until December 31, 2019.
“Stop Giving Me a Number and Start Giving Me a Person”: How 22 Girls Illuminate the Cracks in the Manitoba Youth Mental Health and Addiction System (2020)
Mental health and addictions issues affect Manitoba children and youth at soaring rates and, for years, demand for these health services has outpaced supply. In the last five years, suicide has become the leading manner of death for Manitoba youth ages 10-17. This special report dives into lessons learned from the suicide deaths of 22 Manitoba girls. The girls, ages 11-17, were primarily from rural and northern Manitoba communities and died between 2013 and 2019. Their struggles point to glaring cracks in provincial mental health and addiction services. The Advocate makes seven recommendations to the provincial government about how to fix these systems and therefore improve the wellbeing of Manitoba children and youth.
Click here to read the full report.
To read the news release, click here.
To read the Manitoba Advocate’s remarks, click here.
Safe and Sound: A Special Report on the Unexpected Sleep-Related Deaths of 145 Manitoba Infants
In Canada, sudden and unexplained deaths remain the second leading cause of death for infants between the ages of one and 12 months. Sleep-related infant deaths are a not only a serious public health concern, but they are also a children’s rights issue. This report addresses the extent and nature of unsafe sleep-related deaths in Manitoba, examines the barriers and gaps that prevent the reduction of known risk factors, and makes 13 targeted recommendations to increase the effectiveness and responsiveness of services for infants and their families. What you will read in this report is a clear message of hope: unsafe sleep-related deaths can be reduced in our province by addressing the known risk factors. Most sleep-related infant deaths can be prevented by reducing the known risk factors and by placing the infant alone, on their back, and in a crib for every sleep.
The Slow Disappearance of Matthew A Family’s Fight for Youth Mental Health Care in the Wake of Bullying and Mental Illness (2020)
Matthew’s story is one of a family desperate to save their son. Matthew’s six-year struggle with depression, anxiety, substance use, and persistent thoughts of suicide consumed the family. Over time, his mother lived with the fear that something would happen if she was not able to provide round-the-clock supervision and support to Matthew. It was clear to the family that the patchwork of mental health interventions being offered were not well-coordinated and were not actually helping her son to recover. Matthew had many contacts with community supports, including school-based and community-based psychologists, psychiatrists, public and private therapists, occupational therapists, doctors (his pediatrician, as well as during in-patient treatment and emergency crises), police officers, paramedics, mobile crisis teams, and CFS staff. Still, Matthew’s family had no success in getting him long-term help.
A Place Where it Feels Like Home: The Story of Tina Fontaine (2019)
Tina Fontaine might always be known for the tragic way in which she died, but it is her life that is an important story worth knowing.
It was on August 17, 2014, when most people would learn her name, but Tina’s story began long before that day. It began even before Tina was born on New Year’s Day in 1999.
To know Tina’s story, to really understand how she came to symbolize a churning anger of a nation enraged, each of us can look as far back as the arrival of European settlers, and as close to home as the depth of our own involvement or indifference in the lives and experiences of Indigenous youth.
LEARNING FROM NELSON MANDELA: A REPORT ON THE USE OF SOLITARY CONFINEMENT AND PEPPER SPRAY IN MANITOBA YOUTH CUSTODY FACILITIES
Two years after receiving a number of complaints about the uses of segregation, solitary confinement, and pepper spray in youth custody facilities in Manitoba, the independent offices of the Ombudsman and the Advocate determined there was a need for an independent investigation. The Ombudsman’s focus was to examine existing legislation, regulations, policies, and procedures, and to determine whether they were being appropriately followed by custodial staff and administrators. The Advocate’s focus was to look at whether the use of pepper spray and segregation in youth populations is justified and whether the justice system is reflecting the best interests of youth while they are responsible for their care. This report presents clear evidence that methods such as segregation and pepper spray do not make the public safer. It is indisputable that therapeutic approaches work, can lower re-offending, and increase public safety.
In Need of Protection: Angel’s Story (2018)
The Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth today released her second public child death report since the expansion of her mandate earlier this year. Today’s report, In Need of Protection: Angel’s Story details the life of Angel, who died at age 17 after a lifetime of unaddressed and compounded trauma. The Manitoba Advocate discusses themes of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), sexual exploitation of children and youth, the urgent need for a continuum of care including safe and secure addition treatment for youth, and further calls on the provincial government to implement a robust youth mental health strategy, which is so desperately needed. The Advocate’s report links what happened to Angel to what is happening today for a number of youth who are connected to the advocacy program at the Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth Office.
Documenting the Decline: The Dangerous Space Between Good Intentions and Meaningful Interventions (2018)
In her first publicly released child death investigation since the proclamation of The Advocate for Children and Youth Act in March 2018, Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth, Daphne Penrose, shares the story of an Indigenous youth who died tragically in a vehicle accident in a rural community.
MACY DOCUMENT ARCHIVE
In 2013, in response to youth, community, and stakeholder feedback, we redesigned our newsletters, choosing to focus on producing a newsletter aimed at youth. The Drop explores the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which is an international agreement between many countries around the globe. The UNCRC has been in place since 1989 and gives children and youth around the world more than 40 major human rights. Canada signed onto this international agreement in 1991 and promised to ensure the rights described in the UNCRC are protected and promoted for all children living in Canada. Each issue of The Drop newsletter examines one of the Articles of the UNCRC.
- Winter 2014: The Drop on Your Right to Contact with Your Family – Article 9
- Spring 2014: The Drop on Your Right to Express Yourself! – Article 13
- Fall 2013: The Drop on Your Right to a Care Plan that Meets Your Needs – Article 25
- Summer 2013: The Drop on Your Safety Rights – Article 19
- Spring 2013: The Drop on Your Privacy Rights – Article 16
In early 2013, we also decided to redesign our suicide prevention newsletter. Hope Rising examines issues related to suicide and suicide prevention specific to youth, with a focus on Manitoba youth. We offer this newsletter to the public in three languages – English, Cree, and Ojibwe.
Much of the work we do at MACY is bound by confidentiality. This is important since in the work of protecting children, youth, and their families, we become aware of highly sensitive and personal information in order to conduct accurate and thorough analysis of the issues affecting Manitoba’s young people. In our work across the province, we see trends and key issues that are common to many children and youth and are committed to educating the public about those issues in an effort to improve the lives of children and youth. We are excited to be able to offer the following information sheets as part of our public education efforts.
The Megaphone explores issues for three unique audiences: youth, service providers, and the general public. Each edition of The Megaphone focuses on a different theme our staff sees in the work we do around the province. You are encouraged to view, read, print, and share one or all of them.
Issue 14: SPECIAL EDITION – Water Safety
Manitoba is a land of many lakes, rivers, streams, and other wide access to bodies of water. Many of our communities are located beside water and children and youth have ready access to water for a wide range of activities. Deaths of children and youth from accidental drowning occur every year in Manitoba – between 2009 and 2014, there were 19 Manitoba children who died from drowning. As we emerge from winter and anticipate the spring thaw and its yearly increase of water-related activity, this special edition of The Megaphone looks at how to keep young people safe around water.
Issue 13: SPECIAL EDITION – Safe Sleep for Babies
Infants have an increased vulnerability of death when their sleeping environments are not carefully designed and monitored. Each year, our office is notified of infant deaths where risks in the baby’s sleep space were identified. To advocate for safer sleep and healthier babies, this special edition of The Megaphone looks at Safe Sleep – how to minimize risk and how to promote safety.
Issues 10-12: Foster Care
Manitoba foster families play a vital role in the care of vulnerable young people. This release of The Megaphone looks at some of the issues faced by young people, service providers, and caregivers working in the foster care system in the province.
- Issue 10 – Foster Care – Information for Youth – Spring 2014
- Issue 11 – Foster Care – Information for Service Providers – Spring 2014
- Issue 12 – Foster Care – Information for the General Public (& Foster Parents!) – Spring 2014
Issues 7-9: Gang Interference in the Lives of Children & Youth
Our third installment of The Megaphone info sheets shines a light into the dark corners of street gangs and their impact on children and youth in Manitoba. We look at why young people might accept gang interference in their lives, what the impacts can include. We also challenge service providers to look critically at their own choices and how those choices can have an impact in the issue of gangs. We talk about labels and the need to meet youth with open minds and hearts in order to effectively support them and how communities can work to reclaim youth from gangs.
- Issue 7 – Gang Interference – Information for Youth – 2014
- Issue 8 – Gang Interference – Information for Service Providers – 2014
- Issue 9 – Gang Interference – Information for the General Public – 2014
Issues 4-6: Navigating Adolescent Transition
In the second release of The Megaphone, we explore some of the issues associated with the critical bridging years children travel through that move them from childhood to their teen years. Social competency and how to support healthy development in young people is examined from a number of angles and for three distinct audiences: youth, service providers, and the general public.
- Issue 4 – Navigating Adolescent Transition – Information for Youth – Fall 2013
- Issue 5 – Navigating Adolescent Transition – Information for Service Providers – Fall 2013
- Issue 6 – Navigating Adolescent Transition – Information for the General Public – Fall 2013
Issues 1-3: The Importance of Attachment
In this first release of The Megaphone, we look at the issue of attachment and why early experiences for young children can lay the foundation for their future. We look at attachment theory, resilience, how care plans can impact very young children, and the importance of recognizing and addressing trauma.
- The Children’s Advocate releases the executive summary of the quality assurance review of the OCA’s Advocacy Services program (SPECIAL RELEASE, April 2017)
Youth Suicide in Manitoba 2009-2012
Staff from the Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth delivered a poster presentation at the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention 2013 conference in Winnipeg. Drawing on statistics and ongoing inquiry within the Special Investigation Review unit of MACY, our office was able to offer conference delegates some poignant analysis of issues and emerging trends in youth suicide within Manitoba.
A Message to Manitoba Foster Parents
Foster parents make up a large number of the calls we get each year requesting support and assistance from our staff of advocates. We want to make sure that all foster parents in Manitoba know that we see ourselves as allies to people who care for children. Foster parents call us for information and assistance with respect to reunification or transition plans, foster child removal concerns, issues regarding contact with assigned social workers, and more. In response to this, we produced an information sheet specifically for Manitoba foster parents.
- On the Edge Between Two Worlds: Community Narratives on the Vulnerability of Marginalized Indigenous Girls (2016)
- Children Need Families, Not Courtrooms: Alternatives to Adversarial Litigation in Child Welfare (March 2016)
- The Changing Face Of Youth Suicide In Manitoba And The Narrow Window For Intervention: Manitoba Children’s Advocate Releases Phase Two Report (May 2016)
- OCA’s Quality Assurance Program releases its SIR Program Evaluation – Executive Summary (March 2015)
- The Changing Face Of Youth Suicide In Manitoba And The Narrow Window For Intervention: Manitoba Children’s Advocate Releases Phase One Report (May 2015)
- Declaration of Reconciliation (June 2015)
- Safe for Today: Barriers to Long-Term Success for Youth in Care with Complex Needs (July 2015)
- Permanency Beyond Foster Care (December 2015)
- Letter to the Council of the Federation – The Need for a National Dialogue about Indigenous Children and Youth (August 2014)
- Youth Focus Group Series: Transitioning From Care (March 2013)
- Memorandum of Understanding – Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates – On delivering advocacy services to children and families moving between provinces (Fall 2013)
- Submission to the House of Commons – An Act to Amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act (March 2011)
- Honouring Their Spirits: The Child Death Review (September 2006)
- Strengthening the Commitment – Executive Summary (September 2006)
- Strengthening Our Youth: Report on Youth Leaving Manitoba’s Child Welfare System (November 2006)