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Committee meets to decide fate of B.C. child and youth rep

A committee of all-party MLAs meets today to decide whether Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond will continue as the province's representative for children and youth.

The representative was first appointed in 2006 following the Ted Hughes report, which revealed major dysfunctions in the province's child welfare system -- a system plagued by "an unmanageable degree of change," according to Hughes.

Turpel-Lafonde's job was created to police the effects of that change. During its five-year term, her office has conducted several investigations into the critical injuries or deaths of children receiving provincial services, and produced recommendations to improve them.

Earlier this week, NDP children and families critic Clare Trevena released a statement in support of Turpel-Lafond's reappointment.

"B.C.'s representative for children and youth, has served a central role in advocating for some of the most vulnerable children and youth in our province," Trevena wrote. "In her first five-year term as representative, she has drawn a critical lens to child protection issues involving poverty, abuse, neglect and domestic violence."

The relationship between the rep's office and the Ministry of Children and Family Development has been rocky in the past. But, in April 2011, the two signed a memorandum of understanding that clarified the roles of each, and renewed their commitment to work together.

Turpel-Lafonde's term is slated to expire this November.

Robyn Smith reports for The Tyee.

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