VANCOUVER, Feb. 6, 2014 /CNW/ - Repeated failures to report, intervene
and protect a young, vulnerable First Nations girl who took her own
life in 2011 amounted to a complete failure of B.C.'s child protection
and mental health services, the Representative for Children and Youth
stated in a report released today.
"The safety and well-being of vulnerable children is being compromised
because the government is not committing the resources required to
protect vulnerable children with desperately tragic consequences," said
BCGEU President Darryl Walker.
The report shows staffing shortages and workload pressures in the
Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) were major
contributing factors to the functional collapse of B.C.'s child welfare
system. The Representative also points to the Ministry's complete
failure to ensure the physical safety of frontline social workers who
feared for their own lives.
"MCFD is in an almost constant state of crisis. Recent province-wide
meetings with BCGEU social workers have told us loud and clear that
child safety is being compromised by staffing issues and workload
problems in the Ministry," said Walker. BCGEU represents frontline MCFD
staff, including child protection and family service workers.
"Making real change and improvements in the child welfare system is
going to require the will of the B.C. government and a much more
strategic action and investment plan for recruitment, health and
safety, and retention of frontline workers," added Walker.
The BCGEU endorses the report's recommendations, and commits to
supporting an urgent, comprehensive assessment of staffing and safety
issues in the Ministry to be conducted jointly by BCGEU and MCFD.
However, the forthcoming 2014 BC budget must allocate proper government
resources to address the long-standing challenges faced by MCFD. The
provincial government budget will be tabled on February 18. "We are
requesting a meeting with Minister of Children and Family Development,
Stephanie Cadieux, to address the issues raised in today's report.
These troubling issues can only be meaningfully addressed with the
input of our frontline workers," says Walker.
SOURCE: B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union
For further information:
Media: for more information please call Evan Stewart, BCGEU Communications (604)291-9611