Some things just need to be said...

Friday, November 04, 2005

BC Liberal Budget cuts Destroy Child protection

"Justice Gove was very clear. Justice Gove, hon. Speaker, said quite clearly that the death of every single child known to the minister or in the care of the ministry should be investigated promptly. It should be investigated in a way that we would be sure that it's thorough, so that we understand what's going on." Gordon Campbell, Leader of the Official Opposition speaking in the Legislature, July 25, 1996,

The Ministry of Children and Family has been hard hit by the BC Liberal government since 2002. Just a few things to consider. The budget was slashed, the staffing cut on top of a gigantic re-organization. Add to this the fiasco of Doug Walls, the Premier's cousin and former Prince George BC Liberal Constituency President and you have a recipe for disaster.

Throw in cuts to the Ministry of Human Resources (Income assistance), special needs classroom support and the rushed implimentation of Kith and Kin programs and you see just what a mess the Gordon Campbell BC Liberals made of it.

It does not stop there, the Liberals eliminated the The Child Protection commissioner and budget leaving the coroner with the added responsibility of investigating each child death in the province with his own now reduced budget and staff.

The situation in BC has been rolled back to the pre 1990's. After the Judge Gove inquiry into the death of 5 year old Matthew Vaudreille many systemic changes were made in government programs and significant protections for children added.

In opposition Gordon Campbell was a staunch advocate for the protection of children. He demanded day in and day out more money for programs, more staffing, more accountability. It should have been good for children after Campbell was elected. BC should be looked upon as a world leader.

When Jane Morely wrote her report, she indicated that tranparency and reporting from the Ministry would become better...

"...With respect to the monitoring function, I envision that the question of how well MCFD is doing its job will become increasingly transparent through publicly reported performance measurements. MCFD and the Children’s Commission are currently both conducting audits of plans of care of children-in-care. I envision that MCFD alone will be legislatively mandated to carry out systematic audits of plans of care. MCFD and the Children’s Commission are both conducting reviews of critical injuries of children-incare. ..."

In addition, when informed of a critical injury, the Public Guardian and Trustee's office is the third agency to investigate. The Public Guardian and Trustee does this as the guardian of the child's estate, to determine whether legal action is warranted. I envision that critical injuries will continue to be conducted by MCFD and that the only external agency investigating these incidents will be the Public Guardian and Trustee's office. - Report on the Core Services Review of the Children's Commission, December 2001

It's not working. Sherry Charlie died in 2002. The public only learned the horrible circumstances of the Ministry of Children and Families failure two months after the the provincial election. The Government essentially failed to report the details to the public and held onto a report until after the election. The report paints a very critical picture of the government's failure and the effect budget cutbacks have had on the protection of children in government care.

Had the Children's commissioner still been in place Sherry Charlie's death would have been investigated and a report would have been made public forcing the government to respond. What we get in its place is political spin from the government.


B.C. social workers say budget cuts sabotages their ability to protect kids (second link)

Who Will Defend The Defenseless in B.C.?

Cody's Death: How Deep an Investigation?

Matthew John Vaudreuil - it happened again

Screwed By The Surplus

More answers in the sad case of Sherry Charlie

Ministry office lost five of seven social workers

BC Liberals ignored secret report into Child's death

Clandestine battle waged for inquest in foster child's death

Report on the Core Services Review of the Children's Commission and Overlapping Services Provided by the Child, Youth and Family Advocate, the Ombudsman, the Coroner and
Ministry of Children and Family Development (December 2001)

Report of the Gove Inquiry into Child Protection in British Columbia (1995)

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