July 15, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The co-chairs and members of the Child and Youth Advocate's Advisory Committee on First Nations Child Welfare were named today.
"I am very much encouraged by the enthusiasm of those who have volunteered their time to assist in this review," said Bernard Richard, ombudsman and child and youth advocate. "The level of interest and wealth of experience that the advisory committee members and the co-chairs bring to this process bodes well for our review and for First Nations' children in New Brunswick."
The committee will be co-chaired by Andy Scott, former Fredericton MP and federal minister of Indian and northern affairs; and Provincial Court Judge Graydon Nicholas.
They will be joined by D.J. Joseph, Miguel LeBlanc, Judy Levi, Nancy MacDonald, David Perley, Pam Sappier, Pamela Ward and Fred Wien. The committee will also benefit from the counsel of elder Josie Augustine. Both provincial and federal governments have appointed representatives to keep in contact with the committee.
The committee will make recommendations on how to improve welfare services for First Nations' children in New Brunswick.
"New Brunswick has a great opportunity to show true leadership in an area where the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and UNICEF have stated Canada is faring poorly," said Richard. "First Nations' children deserve the same opportunities, the same rights and the same protection as any other child."
The committee will hear from First Nations and others through public consultations and talking circles in August and September. Experts will be invited to address Richard at a symposium in late September. The final report is expected in early January 2010.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ombudsman and Child and Youth Advocate Bernard Richard, 506-453-2789.