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The Role of Canada’s Child and Youth Advocates: A Social Constructionist Approach

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The role of Canadian Child Advocates has been under-researched by academics and civil society alike, and the following paper addresses this knowledge deficit with findings from a graduate study (Bendo, 2016) reviewing their legislative and professional roles through a sociology of childhood lens. The aim was to investigate the Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates (CCCYA), and data was derived through a discourse analysis of legal, policy and media documents, and in-depth interviews with five current and former Advocates. This exploratory, qualitative study employed a critical ethnographic methodology, and findings indicate that child advocacy is a complex phenomenon with ample opportunities, although numerous barriers exist hindering the work and affecting the quality of outcomes. The study’s main argument suggests the role of the Advocates is not well understood by Canada’s children, youth or the public at large, and may be hampered by a continued lack of cross-national, multi-systemic implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child at federal, provincial and territorial levels.

Affiliations: 1: Carleton University, PhD Candidate, Department of Law and Legal Studies, Ottawa, Ontario Law and Legal Studies Ph.D. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, ; 2: Brock University Associate Professor, Department of Child and Youth Studies, St. Catharines, Ontario,


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