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BC's new child watchdog says tragic child deaths drive quest for change

Last Updated Nov 16, 2016 at 6:05 pm PDT

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Summary

Difficult files and child deaths motivation for change for newly appointed watchdog

VICTORIA (NEWS1130) – British Columbia’s new children’s watchdog says several tragic deaths changed his life and put him on a mission to improve the lives of vulnerable young people.

Bernard Richard says a two-year-old girl who died of a perforated bowel, a 13-year-old First Nations girl who hanged herself outside a recreation centre and the death of 19-year-old Ashley Smith in a federal prison drive him to dig deeper to help children.

When he thinks about improving care, the former New Brunswick politician and youth advocate says he hears the voice of a mother pleading for better mental-health supports for her schizophrenic daughter.

Richard says he’s not afraid to take on governments in order to force changes that are needed to protect children.

He replaces former Saskatchewan judge Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond who held the BC children and youth representative post for a decade.

Children’s Minister Stephanie Cadieux issued a statement welcoming Richard and says she looks forward to supporting his advocacy work.

Bernard Richard explains what his ambitions are moving forward: