Fredericton, NB (NBHC) - The New Brunswick Health Council (NBHC) and the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate (CYA) will release the 4th annual State of the Child report today in Fredericton.
“The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate is thrilled with this collaboration with the New Brunswick Health Council,” said acting Child and Youth Advocate, Christian Whalen. “This initial joint report is only the first step in strengthening our combined commitment and resolve to children’s rights and well-being in our province.”
The report, entitled Play Matters!, is broadly themed after Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; the right to rest, leisure, play, recreation, arts and culture. It also offers an overview of children’s rights in general, analysis on the application of these rights in New Brunswick, and a road map to their progressive implementation. The report also contains the NBHC’s Children Rights and Wellbeing Framework.
“The information presented in this report and in the road map is in line with the recommendations we recently presented to the minister of Health, especially when it comes to the importance of multi-year planning and fostering collaboration between Departments”, said Stéphane Robichaud, CEO of the NBHC. “We hope this Framework will stimulate public debate and inform public policy-making, while encouraging more research into children’s rights and well-being.”
The report’s road map offers guidelines to coordinate and integrate services to children and youth in the province, a central point of the NBHC’s recent recommendations to the Minister of Health. It proposes several initiatives that could be implemented without significant expenditures that could materially advance the implementation of children’s rights in general.
The road map seeks to celebrate our communities’ successes, like the fact that 76% of youth in grades 6 to 12 contributed time to volunteer opportunities outside of school in the last year. In addition, New Brunswick ranks 4 out of 10 provinces when it comes to the children’s sense of belonging to the community.
However, there are specific concerns regarding the amount of sleep our children are getting. There has been research suggesting that children and youth between the ages of 10 and 18 need as much sleep as younger children. The data from the 2011 Children Rights and Wellbeing Framework suggests that only 52% of youth in grades 6 to 12 in New Brunswick report getting more than 8 hours of sleep per night. Factors may include the impact of screen time usage on sleep patterns among adolescents and for younger children as well, along with the impacts of balancing school work, part-time jobs and recreational activities with rest.
“Children learn by example and parent behaviors have a significant impact on children’s well-being,” said Whalen. “We urge all New Brunswickers to read through the report take steps with their families and in their communities to improve the opportunities for rest, leisure, play, recreation, arts and culture for all children.”
Play Matters! is available on the Children’s Rights Awareness Week website at www.gnb.ca/playmatters and data specific to zones from the Children Rights and Wellbeing Framework is available on the NBHC website at www.nbhc.ca.
The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate ensures that the rights and interests of all children and youths are protected, that their views are heard and considered in all matters of public policy and debate.
The NBHC has been established as an independent organization that measures, monitors and evaluates New Brunswick’s health system performance through a citizen-centered dual mandate of performance measurement and citizen engagement.