Accelerating responsiveness to advocacy services

Where Can We Advocate?

In March 2018, our advocacy services expanded outside of Child and Family Services to include a number of other public service systems.

The Advocate for Children and Youth Act states it is the responsibility of the Manitoba Advocate to: support, assist, inform, and advise children, young adults, and their families respecting designated services.

Designated Services are defined as:

CHILD WELFARE

All services from birth to 17 years, plus young adults 18-21 years who were former permanent wards

ADOPTION

All services from birth to 17 years

DISABILITIES

All services from birth to 17 years provided by or funded by the government within health, education, justice and community services, plus services to 18-21 years if CFS had been involved prior to individual turning 18 years. All services from birth to 17 years provided by or funded by the government within health, education, justice and community services, plus services to 18-21 years if CFS had been involved prior to individual turning 18 years.

EDUCATION

All educational programming for children to age 17 with an IEP, plus 18-21 years if eligible for an IEP and the young adult had received child welfare services as a child

MENTAL HEALTH

All services from birth to 17 years provided by or on behalf of a public body

ADDICTIONS

All services from birth to 17 years provided by or on behalf of a public body

VICTIM SUPPORTS

All services provided to children birth to 17 years or their families as victims of crime, witnesses in criminal proceedings, those impacted by domestic violence, those who are sexually exploited or at risk of sexual exploitation

JUSTICE

All services for youth to 17 years including custody, community supervision and probation

Even if you are unsure if your concern is eligible for Advocacy Services, you can still contact MACY. All concerns not able to be resolved with Advocacy Services will be referred to an appropriate resource.

Advocacy is at the heart of all activities conducted by the office of the Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth. In all forms our advocacy takes, working towards the best interests of the child and supporting the voices of children, youth, and young adults guides us in being effective advocates in individual cases and on a larger systemic scale.

What Is An Advocate?

A knowledgeable professional who:

  • Listens to the voices, opinions, and experiences of young people in order to amplify their voices, and promote their rights and best interests.
  • Works with and on behalf of young people to address concerns and to ensure public systems are responding to their needs.

Our Advocacy team works:

  •  With/for individual children, youth, and young adults on individual case-specific matters;
  •  With/for groups of children, youth, and young adults on systemic matters common to multiple young people; and
  • On behalf of all children, youth, and young adults when we note an ongoing issue related to a public service system, specific service provider, or area of the province.

What Happens When You Request An Advocate?

Anyone involved in the life of a child, youth, or young adult receiving services from a public system can request an advocate. MACY receives thousands of calls every year from diverse groups of people across Manitoba. Children, youth, and young adults can call on behalf of themselves or other young people, and biological parents, foster parents, CFS workers, teachers, professionals, or other adults can call when they are concerned about the services being provided to a young person they know.

All calls to MACY received during business hours will be answered directly by our front reception. When attending the MACY office in person, the first point of contact is also our front reception. After gathering information such as the name of the caller and/or the child/youth, calls are transferred to an Advocacy Officer for intake. If a message is left outside of business hours, the call will be returned by an Advocacy Officer at the earliest opportunity.

All MACY Advocacy Officers perform the intake function on a rotating basis. The Advocacy Officer will listen to your concern, and gather additional information in order to provide assistance. MACY believes in empowering young people and others to be successful self-advocates. A number of intakes are resolved by providing young people or adults calling on their behalf with the information necessary to advocate for themselves.

If a situation requires additional advocacy intervention, an Advocacy Officer will collect all the information related to your concern, and provide you with information on the next steps they will be taking. Advocacy service delivery will range in duration or nature of involvement depending on the circumstances of the concern.

Confidentiality and Privacy

The ACYA provides children, youth and young adults in Manitoba with the right to communicate in private with an advocate. When a young person contacts MACY, they are informed that their identity and information will be kept confidential, unless the young person provides permission for their information to be disclosed. Additionally, anyone providing information to MACY is protected by provisions similar to whistleblower protections. People providing the Advocate with information, records, or access to premises are protected from liability or other actions to be brought against them. An Advocacy Officer will not disclose the identity of an individual raising concerns about a service provider.

As an exception, in situations where information provided to an Advocacy Officer indicates a child is in need of protection, the Advocacy Officer is bound by the duty to report that concern.