New Brunswick Child and Youth Advocate, Richard, makes recommendations for child protection services. Child Protection workers across Canada have already identified these issues from their own experiences. Now governments need to act!
Fredericton, NB (05 February 2008) - A New Brunswick Child and Youth Advocate, Bernard Richard released a report which included recommendations for the Department of Family and Community Services to improve child protection in the province.
Among the recommendations was a call for increased clinical supervisory support for front-line social workers in child protection. A second recommendation is echoed by social workers across the country – the immediate need for a recruitment and retention strategy for child protection agencies.
Both recommendations will require an increase in funding and the political will to make changes. But these concerns are not unique to the province of New Brunswick.
NUPGE's 2007 fall working session with child protection workers identified some of the same problems. Child and youth protection workers themselves have a direct experience of the difficulties in delivering the necessary protection for children across Canada.
Workers reported that their workloads are excessive and there is not sufficient time to address the complexity of each case and develop a positive working relationship with the children, youth or family. In addition the low staffing levels means that extra support when staff take sick leave is not available. Both recruitment and retention are key to resolving the issues of general understaffing.
At the root of these specific issues is the chronic underfunding of social services in Canada. NUPGE's report “The Underfunding and Accountability Crisis in Canada's Community-based Social Service Sector” lays out the history of social service funding providing recommendations to improve accountability and a remedy for the damage caused by 20 years of underfunding.