New BCLI publications call for reforms to the child protection framework and review of legislation on youth aging into the community
May 25, 2021
BY Kevin Zakreski
The British Columbia Law Institute has just published the Report on Modernizing the Child, Family and Community Service Act and the Study Paper on Youth Aging into the Community.
With these two publications the work of BCLI’s Child Protection Project Committee has drawn to a close. This committee met 19 times, considered 48 submissions in a public consultation, and developed two publications to meet distinct goals: one providing detailed recommendations for legislative reform, the other contributing comparative research on an emerging issue.
The Report on Modernizing the Child, Family and Community Service Act contains a focused review of British Columbia’s child protection statute. It makes 39 recommendations for reform and contains draft legislation illustrating how these recommendations could be implemented by legislative changes. The report’s recommendations address the following areas: (1) definitions and terms; (2) disclosure; (3) independent legal advice; (4) court procedures and orders; (5) selected protection issues; (6) incorporating children’s views into child protection proceedings; (7) legal representation for children in child protection proceedings.
The Study Paper on Youth Aging into the Community sets out comparative legal research. Its subject is how jurisdictions support young people who were once in the care of the child protection system but who have reached the age of majority. Of acute concern is the overrepresentation of Indigenous children and youth in the system, and special attention is paid to issues related to Indigenous young people leaving the care system. The study paper also examines transition planning, relationship-based support, educational support, and housing support. The study paper contrasts British Columbia with Ontario and four international jurisdictions.
BCLI thanks the Law Foundation of British Columbia for providing a grant to support this project.
“The report’s recommendations will improve the Act. This, in turn, will mean that the law can better protect vulnerable children and provide increased support to their families and communities.”—Corinne Feenie, committee co-chair
“We found that Australia, England, New Zealand, and the United States have each enacted comprehensive legal frameworks to support transitions and provide necessary supports for youth and specifically Indigenous youth in the system. Studying their legislation provides options and solutions that could benefit British Columbia.”—Katrina Harry, committee co-chair
- Report on Modernizing the Child, Family and Community Service Act
- Study Paper on Youth Aging into the Community
- project media release no. 2—announcing the release of the two publications
- project backgrounder no. 4—summarizing the report
- project backgrounder no. 5—legislative fact sheet
- project backgrounder no. 6—summarizing the study paper
- Modernizing the Child, Family and Community Service Act Project webpage