BC Liberal Mental Health and Addictions Critic Jane Thornthwaite reintroduced the Safe Care Act to the Legislature for the second time today.
“This important piece of legislation will help protect at-risk youth from imminent harm,” Thornthwaite said.
“Since I first introduced this bill in 2018, nearly 20 young people have died from overdoses.”
If passed, the Safe Care Act will be used as a court-mandated action to protect children in worst-case scenarios involving self-harm, addictions, violent behaviour and sexual exploitation.
Jo-Ann Landolt and Linda Proctor have been tireless advocates for this legislation since the death of their granddaughter and niece Kimberly.
“This legislation is an important tool to prevent further tragedies by filling gaps in the current child-care system,” says Landolt. “We really hope that the government will pass this bill so other families won’t have to endure the pain we went through.”
Implementing the Safe Care Act will also reduce the frequency of youth overdose incidents, the MLA added.
“We know that youth who are released prematurely after an overdose are at a much higher risk of overdosing again,” says Thornthwaite.
“A young person who has received treatment after an overdose has significantly impaired judgment and is not capable of informed consent. The most responsible step in these instances is mandatory treatment.”
While at-risk youth in our society come from all backgrounds, Indigenous children are disproportionately represented in the child-care system. The Safe Care Act has specific protections to ensure members of Indigenous communities are actively involved in care plans that impact First Nations children.