Underfunding of Child Welfare Services Failing - At Risk Children and Youth

    Rally to tell Minister of Children and Youth Services to Increase Funding

    GUELPH, ON, June 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Government underfunding of child
welfare services is putting children and families at risk say the Canadian
Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario. While this Liberal Government has
passed legislation, through Bill 210, that's focused on the restructuring of
child welfare services to promote best practices - they are not funding it.
    CUPE local 4325 will rally at the Guelph Children's Aid Society Annual
General Meeting at the Holiday Inn, Scottsdale and Stone Roads on Thursday,
June 19 at 5:30 p.m. to ask the Minister to increase funding and to draw
attention to the many issues facing child protection workers because of
chronic provincial under funding.
    The Ministry is asserting child welfare funding has increased while
service volumes have fallen. However, this fails to acknowledge the increased
expectations that have been imposed on agencies and front line staff. While
these new policies and protocols are good for children and families, the
sector cannot implement them without appropriate prevention and support
programs and adequate staffing.
    "While direct contact time and accountability are both critical,
appropriate staffing levels and programs must be in place to support both,"
said Heather Roberts, president of CUPE 4325. "The reality is the amount of
direct contact with children and families have decreased due to administrative
requirements - this is not good for at risk children and families."
    Programs at many agencies are in danger because of the Ministry's
requirement for all agencies to submit balanced budgets.
    "In our agency the Ministry is not funding the actual cost of children
placed in specialized care, and while recognizing the need for children to
have permanent homes, the Ministry does not provide adoption subsidies
frequently needed by adoptive families," Roberts continued. "We provide a
number of non-mandated preventative and support services, including Family
Support, an intensive in-home program aimed at strengthening families and
keeping children in their homes that are also not funded."
    CUPE is calling on the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to
adequately fund the child welfare sector so that the change agenda legislated
by this government can be implemented appropriately.

For further information:

For further information: Kathy Johnson, CUPE Social Services,
Coordinator, (416) 272-6698; Wendy Forbes, CUPE Communications, (416)
292-3999; Heather Roberts, President of CUPE 4325, (519) 836-4229

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