Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Are you aware that mental health and suicide are the biggest health risks to Canada’s youth.

Many of us feel the age of majority is 18. You can not drink until you are 19. Students can not access student loans independently until they are 21 – parents have to contribute. Yet at 16, kids are making life changing decisions.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, after age 16 teachers or Councilors can’t give information to parents unless the child agrees. I have spoken to parents, mental health advocates, school guidance councilors who are very frustrated.

Parents seem to have no idea about how the age 16 rule works until they have a problem and often it is too late. I had not idea how far the pendulum had swung away from parental involvement until meeting with concerned parents and advocacy groups.

If you take your child into the Janeway at age 16 or older, you can not be in on the consultation if the child does not agree and they will also have a social worker there to tell them that THEY make the decisions and if THEY do not wish to go home with Mom or dad, social services will take care of them .

The balance has swung too far and the system is not doing what it is supposed to do for those kids at risk. Check out the Child Youth Advocates Report entitled 16. This document is an indictment of the 16 policy and the agencies that look after our children.

Alberta’s Protection of Children Abusing Drugs Act allows parents of children under the age of 18 more involvement striking a much needed balance in abusive situations. Parents can apply for a protection order for treatment for their child

It is scary for parents doing their best and fearing they are failing,  wanting the best for their children. At 16, children can be thrown into a system that will most certainly fail them.

I would propose that NL stop procrastinating and look at the amendments made in Alberta.

 Do you feel teens have the emotional maturity at 16 to be making the type of life decisions that the law permits? 

Our provincial government needs to address the ill-balanced rights of teens at age of 16.

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