MCFD Minister spins numbers, ignores problems

October 31, 2007

The following letter was sent to the Editor of The Vancouver Sun in light of Minister Tom Christensen's failure to address government statistics that show increasing delays in the investigation of alledged child abuse cases in the province:

To the Editor, The Vancouver Sun

The Minister of Child and Family Development's response to the release of government documents on Monday reveals a Ministry which continues to struggle to meet its mandate to protect and strengthen families.

In 2006 former judge and Conflict of Interest Commissioner Ted Hughes released a scathing report on the BC child protection system. He called the system unstable and confused - the result of constant changes in senior leadership, restructuring and funding cuts. 

As social workers understand all too well, many of the issues which Ted Hughes identified are still problems today. Social workers are buried under overwhelming workloads and administrative demands. Attrition rates are much too high. The MCFD is plagued with constant bureaucratic reshuffling and recruitment and retention problems.

While Christensen maintains they have hired 200 new social workers, this is only half of the 400 social workers the Minister stated would be hired.

The BCGEU supports the Legislative Assembly's decision to appoint a representative for children and youth. We would like to stress how important it is that this representative focus on the challenges facing front-line social workers.

We look forward to the representative's pending report on the Ministry's efforts to implement the Hughes Report recommendations and call on the Government to respond to identified needs.

George Heyman
BCGEU President

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