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

Murder mystery staged on steam train

Summerland Singers and Players perform classic tale on the rails on July 21

Tub time looming for Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race

The annual Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race now taking registration for this year’s races

Okanagan Wildfires: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

A Friday morning look at the major wildfires impact the Okanagan and Similkameen.

TGIF: Penticton and South Okanagan events listings

Live theatre, concerts, events, art exhibits and more from around the South Okanagan

South Okanagan winery nets gold in international competition

Covert Farms Family Estate winery scores big

Live: BC Wildfire Service press conference

Watch the LIVE media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

Okanagan Mountain Park wildfire evacuation alert lifted

An evacuation alert remains in effect for those on Lakeshore Road

Feds say they’re willing to help with Okanagan fires

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale talks to local MP and offers help

VIDEO: Near drowning captured on popular B.C. river

Search and Rescue manager says the popular pastime of floating in the summer is inherently dangerous

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Photo gallery: BC Games Day 1

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

More space in BC parks and campsites to get away from it all

Province announces an additional 431 campsites throughout B.C. for the 2018 season

Most Read