Secure Care Act
Ministry for Children and Families
The Secure Care Act creates a new option for addressing the needs of youth at very high risk of harm. Under the act, it will be possible to safely detain that small number of youth who are in danger of extreme harm or death.
The Secure Care Act itself provides a legislative framework it sets out the purpose, criteria, Charter of Rights and Freedoms safeguards and procedural matters. In addition, the act creates a set of rights for youth detained under it. The act was passed last July and will be proclaimed when the consultation on regulations is concluded.
How the act works to protect children
Resolving problems that lead to high risk behaviours is not easy, research shows that one of the most important factors is reconnecting youth with a healthy community. Prevention, early intervention and crisis support are essential elements of a continuum of care for at-risk youth. Secure Care is a small but important part of the continuum of care for children in British Columbia.
Once the act is proclaimed, a parent, guardian or the Director of Secure Care will be able to apply to the independent secure care board to have a young person assessed for secure care.
Members of the Secure Care Board will review the application. The Board will look for and determine if there are other less intrusive options available to that child or youth. If not, it will issue a secure care certificate according to the following criteria, as set out in the act:
The Board may grant a certificate authorizing detainment of a young person for up to 30 days for safety assessment and planning. In exceptional cases, the board may extend this period by granting up to two more certificates.
In emergencies, young people can be detained for no more than 72 hours in a secure care facility without board approval. In these situations, a child or youth can be referred to the Director of Secure Care by:
The Secure Care Board must review the emergency detainment as soon as possible and no young person will be detained for more than 72 hours without the circumstances being considered by the Board.
The ministry is planning to have an interim Chair for the Secure Care Board appointed within the next few months and to implement the act in the fall of 2001.
Protecting the rights of youth
The Secure Care Act includes safeguards to protect the rights of young people to make decisions about their lives:
Consultation process is underway
Extensive discussions are now underway with stakeholders, to assist in the development of regulations, policies and procedures to implement secure care.
Meetings are being held to provide information about the Secure Care Act and to discuss its implementation. Through these meetings, issues are being identified that will require a more detailed and focussed discussion. There will also be specific outreach to service providers in high impact communities.
Aboriginal groups will be a priority in this consultation process. The ministry will seek out aboriginal communities to ensure their input on how secure care can work for aboriginal children and their families.
In addition to general comments and suggestions, stakeholders are being asked for advice and suggestions on the questions listed below:
The input and feedback accumulated through the consultation process will ensure that the ministry develops regulations, policies and procedures that are comprehensive, workable and keep the needs of the youth and their communities at the forefront.
Note: Written submissions must be received by February 1, 2001.
For further information please contact:
Created: June 10, 2001
Last modified: June 10, 2001
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