OBA Launches New Child and Youth Law Section

  • September 30, 2014

TORONTO – The Ontario Bar Association has created a new practice section that will focus its education and advocacy efforts on improving the experience of children and youth in the justice system. 

“It is critical to recognize that, in virtually every area of the law, special considerations must be brought to bear in order to properly serve children and youth,” said Lucy McSweeney Ontario’s Children’s Lawyer and the founding chair of the new section.  “Our new section will educate the bar and public-policy makers about these factors and thereby improve access to justice for Ontario’s vulnerable young people.”

“I would like to thank and congratulate the Ontario Bar Association for recognizing the unique needs of children and youth. It is my hope that this new practice section will provide Ontario’s youth with a better experience when they come into contact with Ontario’s justice system,” said the Honourable Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues

The section will be launched on October 3rd, in concert with an innovative OBA professional development program to help lawyers serve independent teens and youth who are seeking child support from their parents. “When a child is forced to leave home involuntarily, parents continue to have financial support obligations.  Many youth in these circumstances find themselves living on the street either unaware of their rights or unable to enforce them,” said Mary Birdsell, Executive Director of Justice for Children and Youth and Vice-Chair of the new section. 

Consistent with the section’s focus on youth, participants in the October 3rd program will hear directly from teens who have experienced these challenges and from the lawyers who ultimately represented them. 

The Child and Youth Section is the OBA’s 39th practice section.  “It is important for the OBA to educate and advocate for lawyers in a comprehensive way.  This new section will complement our existing sections and improve the interaction of Ontario’s youth with our justice system,” said OBA president Orlando Da Silva.

For more information on the OBA Child and Youth Section, go to:


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