Government is meant to act as the prudent parent of all children in its care. The political leadership of our province is failing to recognize their responsibility." — Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President.
C Vancouver (10 Oct. 2014) — The B.C. government must prioritize the welfare of vulnerable children and families by enacting all 148 recommendations issued by the Representative for Children and Youth in her 22 reports issued since 2008, the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) said on October 9.
B.C. government failing by not properly funding the system that cares for vulnerable children and their families in crisis
“In British Columbia, vulnerable children and families are still falling through the cracks of an under-resourced and over-stretched child welfare system that is constantly operating in crisis mode. The political leadership of our province needs to commit to properly resourcing and staffing the entire system,” said BCGEU President Stephanie Smith.
The Representative for Children and Youth’s report is appropriately titled “”Not Fully Invested.”
“The government’s lack of financial commitment since 2008 has no doubt played a major role in its failure to meet key recommendations by the Representative,” the report notes. The Ministry for Children and Family Development (MCFD) has seen cuts amounting to nearly $100 million real dollars since 2007-2008.
Some progress implementing the B.C. Representative for Children and Youth recommendations
Despite the cutbacks, the report notes that there has been real progress in implementing the Representative’s recommendations directed to MCFD, which BCGEU/NUPGE finds encouraging.
“We are pleased that the report acknowledges the difficult everyday work of BCGEU/NUPGE members, the front line child and family welfare workers,” says BCGEU Vice President Doug Kinna who represents child and family welfare workers in B.C.’s public service.
“But we can’t continue to do child and family welfare on the cheap. At minimum, we need to restore funding to 2008 levels in real dollars and increase staffing to diminish unsustainable caseloads,” says Kinna.
But more needs to be done by the government to care for children in need
Moreover, seven of the nine recommendations addressed to the B.C. government as a whole have been completely disregarded, the report notes. “That is shocking. Government is meant to act as the prudent parent of all children in its care,” says Smith. “The political leadership of our province is failing to recognize their responsibility."
The government has failed to develop a strategy to reduce child poverty, to develop a comprehensive plan to deal with the crisis in youth mental health or to develop an appropriate response to domestic violence, the report says.
Download the B.C Representative for Children and Yourth report: "Not Fully Invested"
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE