B.C. Children and Youth Representative Bernard Richard. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. children’s representative resigns after a year and a half

Bernard Richard says he was always a ‘transition’ appointee

Bernard Richard, B.C.’s second Representative for Children and Youth, has given notice that he is quitting this summer and returning to his native New Brunswick.

Richard, 67, informed the legislature’s children and youth committee of his decision Wednesday, saying he made it clear to B.C. MLAs he is a “transition representative” after the departure of Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. He is less than halfway through a five-year appointment, having been unanimously selected by MLAs in February 2017.

Richard told committee members he intends to leave this summer, giving them five months to find a replacement. He is returning to be with his 93-year-old father and to take up a job working with Indigenous leaders in New Brunswick.

Richard said B.C. needs to do a better job of dealing with the over-representation of Indigenous children in government care, and to provide better services to parents and young people in need. Teens are “aging out” of care systems and going onto the streets to fall into addiction, he said.

“I talk to parents almost on a weekly basis, and it breaks my heart every time,” Richard said. “They can’t access services when they need them. They’re assigned to wait lists for treatment. The treatment centre says because they’re in a particular health region, they don’t accept children from other regions.”

Committee members thanked Richard for his service to B.C.

“I think your approach has been appreciated, and your words of wisdom are appreciated,” said Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nick Simons.

A lawyer and former social worker, Richard served in the cabinet of former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna, including the aboriginal affairs and education ministries. Richard was appointed New Brunswick Ombudsman in 2004 and was appointed that province’s first child and youth advocate in 2006.

Just Posted

Reel Reviews: Parlour games or video games

We say, “Rampage is silly fun and Truth or Dare is just silly”

Final week for ALR input

Public consultation process closes April 30

Aspiring musician lends talent to help schools

Jessica Singleton to do a pair of benefit concerts for Carmi and Uplands

33 Oliver-area homes evacuated

Flooding concerns result in evacuations

South Okanagan community taking action on fire prevention

Community working to prevent a repeat of last summer’s wildfire

Look back to simpler summers

Rotary honourees reminisce about South Okanagan summers

Low fog creates stunning views near Sicamous

Motorists on the highway between Salmon Arm and Sicamous were treated to spectacular scenery.

Dix says B.C. remains focused on fighting youth overdoses in wake of teen’s death

Elliot Eurchuk’s parents say he died at his Oak Bay home after taking street drugs

Okanagan-Similkameen freshet looms large: district

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen says property owners have window to prepare for flooding

‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss

Half-naked shooter guns down four, runs away in Nashville Waffle House shooting

Nashville police say they are looking for Travis Reinking in connection with the shooting

Child’s body found in river downstream from where boy went missing during flood

Three-year-old Kaden Young was swept out of his mother’s arms in February

B.C. VIEWS: Eliminating efficiency for farm workers

Don’t worry, NDP says, the B.C. economy’s booming

Penticton students tackle dark themes in Oliver

Penticton Secondary School’s theatre program brings to the stage Oliver

Most Read