OCYA_AB: Advocate releases ideas for taking action on issues affecting LGBTQ2S+ youth

January 31, 2019

Edmonton…The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate (OCYA) has released Community Conversations on Speaking OUT, an addendum to their 2017 special report on the experiences of LGBTQ2S+ youth in the child welfare and youth justice systems. The addendum focuses on stakeholders’ ideas for action based on the four themes and the five recommendations highlighted in the original report.

“These community conversations reinforced what we’ve previously heard from LGBTQ2S+ young people about the issues that most affect them,” said Del Graff, Child and Youth Advocate. “There’s great energy and desire in Alberta to improve services to young people, and we hope the ministries of Children’s Services and Justice and Solicitor General will hear what these communities have had to say and apply it in implementing the recommendations made in the original report.”

From March to June 2018, the OCYA hosted five community conversations across Alberta. These forums were held in Edmonton, Red Deer, Calgary, Grande Prairie and Lethbridge. Attendees included young people, as well as stakeholders from the Ministry of Children’s Services, the Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General, and agencies serving children and youth. More than 170 people throughout the province participated.

A copy of the addendum: Community Conversations on Speaking OUT: Ideas for Taking Action and the original 2017 special report are available on our website:http://www.ocya.alberta.ca/adult/publications/ocya-reports/

The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate is an independent office of the Legislature, representing the rights, interests and viewpoints of children and young people receiving designated government services.

Editor’s Note: Backgrounder


Here’s a snapshot of what we heard from stakeholders…

Parents also need a space that is safe for people to disagree, to talk about the fears or assumptions that they don’t love their kids.

Caseworkers [are] to find respectful/appropriate placements where [young people] can grow and gain confidence.

Policy [is] sometimes just for optics… follow-through [is needed].

Medical conditions need to be supported in a timely manner… young people know their gender identity at a young age.

Children’s Services needs to focus on ensuring inclusive sexual health education is part of policy for kids in care.

We heard a lot about people’s work and life experiences—what was going well, and the challenges that they continue to experience when working with LGBTQ2S+ young people. The themes of identity, safety, appropriate places to live, and services and support are woven throughout the discussions for each of the recommendations.


Media inquiries may be directed to:

Tim Chander
Communications Manager
Office of the Child and Youth Advocate of Alberta
780-638-4064; C: 780-499-3601
[email protected]


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