Should vulnerable drug addicted youth be forced into care against their will, in order to save their lives and others?
That’s the idea behind “secure care,” a concept being being recommended by B.C.’s outgoing Child and Youth Representative.
The recommendation was among those contained in a report on the in-custody death of 15-year-old Nick Lang, who died six days after entering a court-mandated and government-funded treatment program in Campbell River.
It says a court-order would be required to force a young person into treatment based on evidence of imminent harm.
Province considering it
Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux says the province is looking at the laws laws, which would essentially force a vulnerable youth to attend treatment against their will, but says she has reservations.
“It is the opinion of the experts in the field that voluntary services are the most effective in ultimately changing people’s behaviour.”
Cadieux adds that professionals are not the only ones who have concerns about the idea.
“There are many that would oppose it as well. First Nations communities and leaders have been especially concerned about the possibility of secure care given the large numbers of First Nations youth in care at this time.”
NDP critic Melanie Mark says it should be an option in B.C. as a “last resort.”
“B.C. has to explore what model would work for us, but the Representative’s office has recommended time and time again that B.C. should explore some level of secure care.”
The report says seven other provinces in Canada have legislation for involuntary treatment of children.