11/21/2013 07:29 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST

New Brunswick to consult with groups and develop child protection strategy

TRACADIE-SHEILA, N.B. - Children's advocates and the New Brunswick government say they will spend the next year developing a strategy to protect young people from harm.

The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate and the New Brunswick Health Council released the latest State of the Child report Wednesday.

Child and youth advocate Norm Bosse says they will work with government, business and children to develop the strategy over the next 12 months.

It is intended to ensure the safety of children placed within the child protection system, improve child and adolescent mental health and reduce harm within the youth criminal justice system.

The report says 58 per cent of New Brunswick kids in Grades 6 to 12 reported having been bullied, the hospitalization for children with behavioural are more than three times the national rate and the province has the fourth highest rate of young victims of family violence.

As the strategy develops, young people will be encouraged to share their experiences of abuse, neglect or maltreatment through the advocate's office.