Irwin Elman, Ontario’s first, only and last independent child advocate, speaks to National Observer in an interview at his Toronto office on March 26, 2018. Photo by Tijana Martin
The Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth fielded over 21,000 calls last year seeking help for children in the welfare system. Over the years, Elman and his team have shed light on horrifying situations in foster and group homes ranging from lack of proper diet to physical abuse.
His work has attracted global attention for the way it has brought youth voices to the forefront. In April, a contingent of Japan’s youth public service was set to visit the office to learn how to replicate their operations and their model for youth support across the world.
The group is proceeding with their trip, but Elman will no longer be there when they arrive.
Friday, March 29, marked Elman’s last day as Ontario’s first and only independent child advocate.
The office is scheduled to shut down on May 1, one of three independent watchdogs eliminated with the stroke of a pen by Finance Minister Vic Fedeli’s 2018 fall economic statement. MORE