The BCGEU welcomes and supports the report released today by the Representative for Children and Youth. The BCGEU is also calling for the speedy implementation of the Representative’s 10 recommendations.
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond’s report, “Much More Than Paperwork”, revealed that only five per cent of the care plans created for vulnerable children meet ministry guidelines.
“It comes as no surprise that the audit found systemic problems,” says BCGEU president Darryl Walker. “Social workers over the years have reported they are unable to meet ministry standards due to the chronic lack of staff and inadequate resources. Workload reports consistently cite high caseloads and MCFD managers give Comprehensive Plans of Care (CPOC) low priority when giving direction to front line staff on how to manage ever increasing workloads.”
The Finance Minister’s hiring freeze combined with the flawed $200 million Integrated Case Management computer system are contributing to an even worse situation. If an audit were done on today’s files the results would be even worse than those identified by the Representative.
As social workers leave MCFD they are not being replaced and the time needed to do even mundane tasks are keeping social workers from completing CPOCs and other administrative duties.
“We have spoken to MCFD for years about the lack of resources which result in standards not being met and their response has always been the same. They say there is not enough money,” says Doug Kinna, BCGEU component chair. “When you do not have enough staff to do the work properly then everything is crisis management.”
In her recommendations, Turpel-Lafond calls for adequate resources, accountability and improved assessment and planning to protect at risk children and youth.