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New legislation proclaimed related to child well-being

Press Release

26 January 2024

FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Child and Youth Well-Being Act and its accompanying regulations have been proclaimed.

“I am pleased to see this new legislation proclaimed, earlier than anticipated,” said Social Development Minister Jill Green. “The Child and Youth Well-Being Act was designed to modernize portions of the 40-year-old Family Services Act and, perhaps most importantly, serves children in care to age 26, up from 19. It also includes a mechanism for future reviews, keeping the legislation suited to the populations it serves.”

Green said the act is intended to be progressive, clear and easy to read and understand. Highlights include:

  • Decreasing formality and increasing flexibility for court processes.
  • Recognizing the importance of the child or youth’s connection to their family, culture, language, religion, faith or spiritual beliefs, and community, especially for Indigenous children and youth.
  • Prioritizing placing children or youth with people they know in their own community if they are not living in the parental home due to protection concerns.
  • Increasing decision-making authority for relatives who are caring for a child or youth.
  • Improving information-sharing among the department and its partners.

The legislation was proclaimed earlier than anticipated to address an error that caused a legislative gap between the new Child and Youth Well-Being Act being proclaimed and related parts of the Family Services Act being repealed in December. This resulted in no legislative child protection or adoption provisions being in force during this time.

“No children or youth were negatively impacted by this error,” said Justice Minister and Attorney General Hugh J. Flemming. “New Brunswickers can remain confident that protecting children is of paramount importance and that the safety of vulnerable children has been maintained. As soon as the department became aware of the error, we acted to have it corrected.”

Flemming said the government is working diligently to ensure no actions taken during the gap period are invalid or overturned and will introduce legislation in the upcoming legislative session to retroactively address the gap that occurred between Dec. 13, 2023, and Jan. 25, 2024.

The act’s four regulations will continue to be available for public review until Feb. 15.

“Consultation has been a crucial element in the development of this new legislation,” said Green. “That will not stop. We will continue to review and address comments that are submitted in the coming weeks.”

The new legislation has a mechanism for review five years after proclamation and every seven years thereafter.

Media Contact(s)

Allan Dearing, communications, Department of Justice and Public Safety,

Rebecca Howland, communications, Department of Social Development,


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