Jennifer Charlesworth is B.C.’s third Representative for Children and Youth. (InWithForward)

B.C. MLAs choose new children’s watchdog

Jennifer Charlesworth has worked in government, social services

A committee of MLAs has selected B.C.’s third Representative for Children and Youth, a veteran of the B.C. government who went on to a career in social services.

An all-party committee announced the selection of Jennifer Charlesworth on Monday, after sorting through 40 applications for the job of independent officer overseeing the children and family development ministry.

Charlesworth replaces Bernard Richard, who retired in June after 14 months on the job. He replaced Mary Ellen Terpel-Lafond, who was appointed to the newly created office in 2006.

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“Dr. Charlesworth has extensive and broad experience in the social services sector in all parts of B.C. and beyond,” said Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons, who chaired the selection committee.

Charlesworth worked in front-line child welfare, social policy and executive roles in the B.C. government from 1980 to 1992, including during the formation of the children and families ministry. She left government in 1997 to complete her PhD at the University of Victoria.

After serving as executive director of the Federation of Community Social Services of B.C., Charlesworth was involved in a review of child and youth residential care. In 2017 she joined InWithForward, a social research and development collective.

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