The Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA) and its regulations outline the rights of children and young persons and what service providers must do to respect those rights. These rights empower children and young persons by giving them a voice. Children and young persons are given the right to express their views and participate when decisions are being made about matters that affect them and the services they are receiving under the CYFSA. Below are some brief highlights of these rights.
Children’s and Young Persons’ Rights (Part II)
Every child and young person who is receiving a service governed by the CYFSA has the right to:
- Express their own views freely and safely about matters that affect them
- Participate in honest and respectful discussions about how and why decisions affecting them are made and to have their views seriously considered based on their age and maturity
- Be consulted about the kind of services they are getting or will be getting, participate in decisions about those services and be told about the decisions that are made
- Raise concerns or suggest changes to the services they are getting or will be getting without interference or fear of pressure, discrimination or retaliation and to receive a response
- Be informed of their rights in a way they can understand.
For a child in care, the rights outlined above apply to decisions about their:
- Treatment, education or training or work programs
- Creed, community identity and cultural identity
- Placement in or discharge from a residential placement or transfer to another residential placement.
A child or young person’s views about these decisions must be considered in accordance with their age and maturity.
A child in care also has additional rights, such as:
- A right to reasonable privacy, to have their own personal property and to learn about and participate in activities of their choice related to their creed, community identity and cultural identity
- A right to a plan of care
- Rights to care, such as participating in developing their plan of care and making any changes to it, having access to food and clothing that is of good quality and receiving regular medical and dental care
- Communication rights.
The CYFSA sets out who must tell children and young persons about their rights under Part II, as well as when, what and how they must be told about their rights. There are also requirements about informing parents of their child’s rights under Part II of the CYFSA.
By law, all service providers must respect the rights of children and young persons as set out in the CYFSA. They must:
- · Help a child or young person exercise or benefit from their rights
- Make sure children, young persons and their parents are heard and represented
- Make sure decisions are made according to clear, consistent criteria and processes
- Make French language services available.
Privacy rights of children, parents and families (Part X)
Scheduled to come into force on January 1, 2020, Part X of the CYFSA provides children, parents and families with new rights related to the collection, use and sharing of their personal information.
Service providers must record the following information in the file of the child or young person:
- How they told a child or young person about their rights under Part II of the CYFSA
- How they helped the child or young person exercise or benefit from their rights under Part II of the CYFSA
- How a child or young person participated in decision-making
- How consent was obtained for the collection, use and disclosure of a child’s or young person’s personal information (scheduled to come into force on January 1, 2020).
Residential licensees also have requirements for what must be included in their written policies and procedures.
To learn all the specific requirements related to the rights of children and young persons, read the Child, Youth and Family Services Act and its regulations.
Child, Youth and Family Services Act: A Guide to Children’s and Young Persons’ Rights provides a general overview of what children and young persons are entitled to when receiving services and what service providers must do to make sure they are meeting their requirements regarding the rights of children and young persons.
Child, Youth and Family Services Act: A Guide to the Complaints Provisions provides a general overview of the complaints provisions in the Child, Youth and Family Services Act and its regulations. It explains the complaints requirements and processes for different types of service providers.
For more information about the CYFSA and what it means for you, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.