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From The Winnipeg Free Press–The province has expanded the powers of the child-welfare watchdog.

Starting June 1, the Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth will be able to investigate serious injuries and deaths of children who were receiving services or whose families were receiving services related to mental health, addiction services or youth justice in the year before the death or injury.

“An independent review… can only help to strengthen the services we deliver,” Families Minister Rochelle Squires said at a news conference Tuesday announcing the additional provision to the Advocate for Children and Youth Act. The legislation came into force in 2018 and allows the advocate to review and investigate child welfare and adoption services for children and transitional child and family services for young adults.

“Almost every day, my office receives formal notification from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of children under the age of 21 who have died in our province,” acting children’s advocate Ainsley Krone said.

“Far too often, deaths of young people in our province have fallen out of scope for my office to review or investigate, as many didn’t have child-welfare involvement in the year before their deaths, which has been the ongoing restriction that’s limited our reviews.”

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