NBASW Applauds Child and Youth Advocate’s Recommendations for Policy 713

The New Brunswick Association of Social Workers (NBASW) applauds the Child and Youth Advocate for the report and recommendations they’ve provided regarding Education Policy 713. The NBASW urges the Government of New Brunswick to implement the Advocate’s recommendations promptly, to protect the safety and wellbeing of children and youth entering the 2023 school year.

Respecting names and pronouns is more than just a matter of respect; it’s a matter of safety for 2SLGBTQIA+ children and youth. Recognizing this, the policy that is being proposed by New Brunswick’s Child and Youth Advocate allows all children and youth to determine their preferred name and pronouns, consistent with their capacity to do so, in addition to other affirming changes that would serve to strengthen the Policy.

Miguel LeBlanc, Executive Director of the NBASW states “the policy that is being proposed provides a reasonable and balanced approach, as well as a clear process to make sure all children have their rights respected within the school system”.

While the concept of child capacity would be new to Policy 713, it is not new to provincial social workers. The Association has both Standards and Guidelines in place to guide social workers working with children. As recommended by the Child and Youth Advocate, professionals within the school system must be able to adhere to the expectations established by their professional regulatory bodies.

The NBASW believes that the policy being proposed by the CYA provides greater clarity and is sound in its recommendations. “We are grateful that the Child and Youth Advocate was able to complete a proper consultation and engagement process regarding the changes made to Policy 713. It’s important to study the Policy’s impact on the children themselves” says NBASW Executive Director, Miguel LeBlanc.

The NBASW represents over 2,250 social workers province-wide who work in a wide variety of settings, including school systems. Social workers work with some of society’s most vulnerable individuals, including children and youth who identify as being part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. “The Advocate’s recommendations need to be followed in a timely manner, to ensure 2SLGBTQIA+ children are protected this upcoming school year” adds LeBlanc. Social workers are committed to bolstering the rights, safety, and well-being of New Brunswick’s children.