Minister of Children’s Services Danielle Larivee issued the following statement in response to the Child and Youth Advocate’s Investigative Review entitled 19-Year-Old Ernie:
“The loss of any young person, in any circumstance, touches their loved ones and community, and my thoughts are with those who cared for this youth.
“I am encouraged to hear that this young person was supported by a foster parent who truly loved and cared for him. Parents who devote their lives to caring for a child in need as if they were their own show all of us what it means to be part of a strong community that cares for every one of its members. We must continue to support these important relationships so that we can better understand what the young people we care for need.
“The goal of the child intervention system is to see children become healthy, successful adults. When any young person transitions into adulthood, the adults who have served as mentors and supports are crucial to ensuring success. That’s why we have piloted practices that support these lifelong connections, consistent with the Advocate’s recommendations.
“The health, safety, and well-being of children are at the heart of the work we do in Children’s Services. But we continue to hear that we need to listen to and be more responsive to the needs of the children we care for. While a Child Intervention and Disability Services protocol is being developed following previous recommendations, it is clear that we need to take a closer look at how we are listening to the members of the disability community we care for.
“We recognize that there is more work to be done to close these gaps. We accept the Advocate’s recommendations and will continue to work with him as a valued partner in strengthening the ways we support children and youth.”