Jenn Bruer

The Advocacy Void: Ontario Child Advocate’s Closure Raises Concerns

The Advocacy Void: Ontario Child Advocate’s Closure Raises Concerns

Hey there, fellow warriors in the fight against burnout! Jenn Bruer here, your steadfast advocate for burnout prevention and recovery. Today, we’re diving into a topic close to my heart – the impact of political decisions on the well-being of those immersed in Ontario’s child welfare sector. As someone who’s felt the tremors of our “broken system,” I know the significance of staying informed. But before we delve into the intricacies, a quick reminder: if you’re teetering on the edge of burnout, consider delving into the pages of my book, “Helping Effortlessly” a guiding light for your journey. And for those racing against time, fret not – an Audible version is on the horizon.

A Shocking Blow: The Disappearing Safety Net

As a devoted advocate for burnout prevention and recovery, I keep a vigilant eye on the ever-changing landscape of Ontario’s child welfare sector. Why? Because I’ve walked its winding paths, witnessing firsthand the toll it can take on the well-being of its champions. This system, born of compassion and fueled by love, is designed to cradle and protect our most vulnerable – our children and youth in need.

But, my friends, like any structure, even one built on noble intentions, it can bear cracks and crevices. As someone who’s traversed the child welfare arena as both a Foster Parent and a Child and Youth Counsellor, I’ve felt the tremors of these imperfections. Burnout, stress, and heartache can lurk within the gaps of this well-meaning system. And the announcement made on November 15th, 2018, by the government to shut down the office of the Ontario Child Advocate sent shockwaves through the very foundation that is meant to protect our young souls.

Opinion Alert: The safety of our children, our future, should never be compromised due to reckless decisions.

The Unseen Dangers of “Cheap Beer” Politics

Picture this: a system dedicated to safeguarding the lives of children and youth from the scars of neglect and abuse. But what if the strings that weave this safety net are suddenly torn asunder? Can you fathom the consequences? The vulnerable lives of these children – those bearing the weight of indigenous heritage, disabilities, abuse, and neglect – now stand without the shield of protection.

Opinion Alert: This is a dangerous game to play, where lives hang in the balance. Gaps in the child welfare system can be likened to cracks in a dam – once water breaches, the damage is done.

Irwin Elman: The Torchbearer of Change

Enter Irwin Elman, the advocate who championed the cause of children and youth with unyielding fervor. His experience as an educator, counselor, and program manager, with a history rooted in the Pape Adolescent Resource Centre, marked him as a stalwart defender of children’s rights.

Opinion Alert: It takes more than a title to make an advocate. Irwin Elman’s commitment to the cause is etched in his history.

The Guardian of Rights: Ontario Child Advocate’s Purpose

For those unfamiliar with the Ontario Child Advocate, let me illuminate its essence. This independent office, guided by the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), was established to champion the rights of children and youth. Its purpose? To amplify their voices, to foster understanding and communication between them and the services they rely on, and to serve as a beacon of knowledge on their rights. The office conducts investigations into matters concerning children under the care of children’s aid societies or residential licensees, and offers recommendations.

Opinion Alert: The Advocate’s Office is a lifeline for those who often have no voice of their own.

A Reckless Act of Cost-Cutting

In a disheartening turn of events, the Ontario government’s decision to close the office of the Ontario Child Advocate was driven by the pursuit of cost-cutting. In its wake, the Ontario Ombudsman is slated to assume the role. This shift undermines the depth of expertise and experience brought by the Advocate, Irwin Elman. This decision, a hasty act driven by fiscal concerns, belittles the years of dedication and hard work that built the safety net for countless children and youth.

Opinion Alert: Children’s lives are far too precious to be gambled on the altar of cost-cutting measures.

A Call to Action: Let’s Make Our Voices Heard

In the face of this crisis, we must unite our voices to protect those who need it most. I implore you, fellow advocates of compassion and justice, to join me in writing to Premier Doug Ford. Let him know that the closure of the Ontario Child Advocate’s office is a decision we cannot accept. Our voices must resonate with a message of accountability, protection, and preservation of the safety net for our children.

Opinion Alert: In times of crisis, our voices become the chorus of change.

Sample Letter to Premier Doug Ford:

<Your Address>


To: The Honourable Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario

Minister Lisa MacLeod MPP

RE: Urgent Concerns Over Closure of the Ontario Child Advocate Office

Dear Premier Ford and Minister MacLeod,

I am writing to express my profound concerns regarding the closure of the Ontario Child Advocate’s office. This decision places the lives and well-being of our province’s most vulnerable children and youth in jeopardy. As residents of Ontario, we entrust our government to ensure the safety and protection of these young souls, and this decision undermines that trust.

I believe that repealing the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act is a grave mistake that dismisses the need for systemic accountability in our child welfare system. Our children and youth, particularly those who are already facing challenges and hardships, deserve a safety net that will catch them when they fall. This safety net has been painstakingly woven by the Ontario Child Advocate’s office over the years.

By repealing this act, your government is placing the lives and futures of these vulnerable children at risk. This decision undermines the principles of fairness and protection that our province stands for. It sends a message that their voices, their rights, and their well-being are expendable in the face of budget constraints.

As a resident of Ontario, I expect our government to demonstrate responsibility and compassion, especially when it comes to the lives of our children. The closure of the Ontario Child Advocate’s office is not a decision that aligns with these values.

I urge you to reconsider this hasty decision and to restore the safety net that the Ontario Child Advocate’s office provided. Our children and youth deserve better – they deserve a system that safeguards their rights, their well-being, and their future.

I eagerly await your response and hope that you will consider the impact of this decision on the lives of those who need our protection the most.


[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[Your Contact Information]

Join the Movement: Stand Up for Our Children

Let’s rise as a collective force to protect the lives of our children and youth. The closure of the Ontario Child Advocate’s office is not just a bureaucratic decision; it’s a decision that affects the lives of those who rely on its support. Reach out to Premier Doug Ford, Minister Lisa MacLeod, and share your concerns. Raise your voice and be a part of the change we need.

Opinion Alert: Our voices have the power to transform a reckless decision into a responsible one.

In Closing: Advocacy for the Future

Dear readers, our journey through the world of advocacy and empowerment continues. Just as I’ve navigated the path to burnout recovery and mindfulness, I am committed to shedding light on critical issues affecting our well-being and the well-being of those around us.

Remember, as we advocate for change and work towards burnout prevention and recovery, we’re not alone. We’re a community of compassionate individuals, striving to make a difference in the lives of others. Let’s continue to be beacons of hope, support, and resilience.

Opinion Alert: Our voices are the echoes of change, and together, we can create a brighter future for all.

Until next time, my fellow warriors.

With unwavering dedication,

Jenn Bruer

P.S. Stay tuned for the Audible version of Helping Effortlessly – it’s coming soon to accompany you on your journey towards well-being and empowerment.

P.P.S. Remember, change starts with us. Let’s stand up for what’s right and advocate for a better future for our children and youth. Your voice matters.

Published by Jenn Bruer

Jenn Bruer is an esteemed youth counsellor and retired foster parent with an exceptional eighteen-year record of service. Author of the influential book "Helping Effortlessly: A Book of Inspiration and Healing", Jenn's personal journey through burnout recovery since 2011 has ignited her passion for holistic well-being. As a revered Mindfulness and Burnout workshop provider, she empowers individuals with transformative tools. Jenn's role as board member with Mindfulness Everyday, a prominent Canadian charity, showcases her dedication to accessible well-being education. Her remarkable trajectory exemplifies a commitment to healing and positive change.

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