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Social worker to lead study of needs of children

The Nova Scotia government is hiring a social worker to fill a job created as a result of an inquiry into the death of a Halifax mother killed by a teenage joyrider.

Robert Wright, a former regional director of Family and Children's Services, will lead a provincial strategy focused on the needs of children and youth, Community Services Minister Judy Streatch announced yesterday.

As executive director of Youth Strategy and Services, Mr. Wright will be responsible for co-ordinating the work of five government departments that serve Nova Scotia youth and families.

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Mr. Wright is a mental-health specialist whose career has focused on serving young people and their families. An "increased investment in early intervention and prevention programs" is needed for youth, he said in a news release.

The creation of the position was one of the recommendations of the Nunn commission inquiry into the death of Theresa McEvoy.

Ms. McEvoy, 52, died instantly in Halifax when the car she was driving was broadsided at high speed by a stolen car driven by a 16-year-old high on marijuana.

After lengthy court proceedings, Archie Billard, then 17, pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death and was given an adult sentence of 4½ years.

The fatal crash led to an 11-month inquiry into youth justice headed by former justice Merlin Nunn.

His report, released in January, focused on issues such as why the youth was released from custody two days before the fatal crash despite facing 27 charges related to previous car thefts.

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