Message from the Acting Representative for Children and Youth
Hello everyone, and thank you for this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Bernard Richard and I am B.C.’s new Acting Representative for Children and Youth – “acting” until the Legislature meets in February and holds a vote on my appointment. I am truly honoured to be here and am looking forward to building upon the important work of my predecessor, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond.
First, a bit about me. I have a background in law and social work and am from the small fishing village of Cap Pelé in New Brunswick. I also have a background in government. I served as a member of New Brunswick’s Legislative Assembly from 1991 to 2003, and have held several cabinet portfolios. Most directly related to this position, I was appointed New Brunswick’s first Child and Youth Advocate in 2006 and I am passionate about working in support of child and youth rights.
A key issue for me – and one upon which I plan to focus my attention – is reducing the high number of Indigenous children and youth in care in British Columbia. The numbers are highly troubling, and I believe it is vitally important that children retain strong connections to their extended families, cultures and natural environments. I’m also deeply concerned about child and youth mental health, the rights of children and youth and advocacy for those rights, and will be making these priority areas as well.
Finally, I am eager to get out and meet as many of you as I can over the coming months. It’s important to me to meet those in B.C. who are working towards the same goals. I know that you share my passion for supporting B.C.’s children and youth, and I am looking forward to connecting with you.
In the meantime, remember, our advocates are here for children, youth and their families. Call us at 1-800-476-3933 or email us at email@example.com And don’t forget, if you are receiving or eligible to receive CLBC services, we can advocate for you until your 24th birthday.
‘Til next time,
Acting Representative for Children and Youth, British Columbia