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Yukon government accepts most recommendations to fix youth care

The Yukon government has accepted all but three of the recommendations of a report on how the government looks after children and youth in its care.

Territory's youth advocate says response a good place to start

Annette King, Yukon child and youth advocate, said the government response to her report is a good place to start when it comes to fixing child and youth care in the territory. (Yukon Child and Youth Advocate Office)

The Yukon government has accepted most of the recommendations of a report on how it could do better to look after children and youth in its care.

The report, released this spring by the territory's child and youth advocate, came about after CBC reported on the experiences of some youth in the care of Yukon social services and in group homes. On Friday the Yukon government announced in a press release that it had accepted all but three of the 30 recommendations from that report.

The government response breaks down the recommendations into four themes: community, cultural identity, case planning and leaving group care.

Annette King, Yukon's child and youth advocate, said the report, and breaking down the recommendations thematically, was a "good first place to start."

"It shows all of the things that they're doing to change the child welfare system are so much beyond just the group homes," King said. "Now what I'll be doing is working with their department officials to break it down and really take a look at [the response]."

The Yukon minister responsible for social services, Pauline Frost, was not available this week for an interview on the government's response.

But in the press release, Frost states that "addressing these recommendations aligns with many of the initiatives we have been working on over the past two years."

Among the recommendations rejected was the recommendation that the Child and Family Services Act be amended to extend eligibility for support beyond 24 years of age.

"At 24 they're completely cut off from support and there's nothing more from family and children's services," King said.

The government offered a nuanced rejection of that recommendation. 

The report states that the department of health and social services "recognizes the need for a continuum of supports for youth as they age. However, not all of these supports appropriately belong under Family and Children's Services."

King acknowledged government's qualified rejection of that recommendation, saying it's a big issue.

"We're looking at that as a systemic issue of its own," King said. "This is something national that everyone is dealing with at the same time."

With files from Leonard Linklater

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