Nfld. & Labrador

Advocate hopeful for mandatory reporting of child deaths

Child and Youth Advocate Carol Chafe is optimistic that the new provincial Liberal government will legislate mandatory reporting of child deaths to her department.
Carol Chafe, the Advocate for Children and Youth in Newfoundland and Labrador, said the reporting of child deaths to her department is important in allowing her to advocate for youth and children. (CBC)

Newfoundland and Labrador's child and youth advocate is hopeful that the current Liberal government will continue work to legislate the automatic reporting of child deaths to her department. 

"The premier has also indicated that he wants that work to continue, so I'm hoping that I'm going to receive notification soon that we're going to get back to working on that," said Carol Chafe.

Chafe said that mandatory reporting of all child deaths and all critical incidents involving a child receiving government services is important in allowing her to advocate for children and youth.

She also said these reports should come from all government departments, not just Child, Youth and Family Services.  

Chafe said under current legislation, she gets information from government when she requests it, but does not have to be notified of any incidents when they happen.

"I find it out through other avenues, whether it's through … media outlets or through some concerned citizen calling here, or a family member," Chafe said.  

The premier has indicated that he wants that work to continue- Carol Chafe, Child and Youth Advocate

She said mandatory reporting of all child deaths was included in the recommendations of previous reports from the child and youth advocate, and she has formally asked government to change legislation.    

Chafe said former Premier Paul Davis set up a committee to draft the legislation. 

"There was a lot of good work done from January to June in 2015 on that, and we had a really good draft legislation, but unfortunately, since June 2015, there hasn't been any action on that," she said. 

She said that the advocate's work is a collaborative effort with government and the overall response has been good.

However, mandatory reporting is among two or three recommendations that have not been responded to in a satisfactory way. 

Chafe said she is optimistic that the work can resume soon with Premier Dwight Ball.

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