Newfoundland and Labrador

Jackie Lake Kavanagh


Child and Youth Advocate
Office of the Child and Youth Advocate


The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate (OCYA) was established by statute, the Child and Youth Advocate Act, which was proclaimed on May 12, 2002. The Mandate of the OCYA is stated in Section 3 of the Child and Youth Advocate Act. The OCYA was established with a mandate to:

  • Protect and advance the rights and interests of children and youth through the provision of advocacy services;
  • Ensure that children and youth have access to services and that their complaints receive appropriate attention;
  • Inform the public about the needs and rights of children and youth;
  • Provide information and advice to government, agencies of the government and to communities about the availability, effectiveness, responsiveness and relevance of services to children and youth;
  • Make recommendations to government regarding legislation, policies, programs and services designed to meet the needs of children and youth;
  • Conduct independent reviews and investigations.

The Advocate is a Statutory Officer of the House of Assembly and reports directly to the Legislature through the Speaker of the House.


All referrals for advocacy services are screened by an Intake Panel, comprised of three (3) management team members, to ensure that the OCYA provides effective, efficient and quality intake and assessment advocacy services and to ensure that a standard approach is applied to all advocacy services requests. The OCYA provides services to any child or youth under the age of 19 years who is entitled to receive services from a department, agency or board of government. The age is extended to 21 years for youth who are or have been in a care or custody arrangement.

The OCYA provides advocacy services to children and youth in four main capacities:

  • Individual Advocacy
    • Information
    • Self-Advocacy Assistance
    • Basic Advocacy Intervention
    • Comprehensive Advocacy Intervention
  • Systemic Advocacy
  • Education and Promotion
  • Reviews and Investigations

Photo of Jackie Lake Kavanagh
Jackie Lake Kavanagh

All children have the right to be protected from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect or maltreatment.

Art. 19 Convention on the Rights of the Child