As we come increasingly familiar with Katelynn’s Principle and the framework of the new CYFSA, we want to ensure that the following principles, collectively known as Katelynn’s Principle, shall be applied in making a decision affecting a child:
- The child must be at the centre of the decision.
- The child is an individual with rights. The child must always be seen, the child’s voice must be heard, and the child must be listened to and respected.
- The child’s heritage must be taken into consideration and respected. Attention must be paid to the broad and diverse communities the child identifies with, including communities defined by matters such as race, ethnicity, religion, language, and sexual orientation.
- Actions must be taken to ensure that a child who is capable of forming their own views is able to express those views freely and safety about matters affecting them.
- The child’s views must be given due weight in accordance with the child’s age and maturity.
- In accordance with the child’s age and maturity, the child must be given the opportunity to participate before any decisions affecting the child are made, whether the participation is direct or through a support person or representative.
- In accordance with the child’s age and maturity, the child must be engaged through honest and respectful dialogue about how and why decisions affecting them are made.
- Every person who provides services to children or services affecting children is a child advocate. Advocacy may be a child’s lifeline and it must occur from the point of first contact and on a continuous basis thereafter.