Residential care program for vulnerable youth needs overhaul, BCGEU says | National Union of Public and General Employees

Residential care program for vulnerable youth needs overhaul, BCGEU says

“It’s time government gives back what it’s taken from children at risk." — Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President.

Vancouver (16 Dec. 2014) — A sweeping overhaul and reinvestment in B.C.’s residential care program for vulnerable children and youth is required following the Representative for Children and Youth’s latest report published on December 10.

“Children and youths with complex needs continue to be placed in inappropriate residential placements.  The Representative’s tragic report shows that we need to hit the reset button on B.C.’s residential youth care system,” explains Stephanie Smith, President of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE)

Children at risk due to lack of oversight and improper planning says B.C. Representative for Children and Youth

The lack of oversight and proper planning in the existing system puts children at risk of abuse from unsuitable caregivers and of being placed in unsuitable accommodation, the report shows. It is entitled Who Cares? B.C. Children with Complex Medical, Psychological and Developmental Needs and their Families Deserve Better.

Nearly 9,000 B.C. children and youth are in the care of the provincial government, and over half of them are Aboriginal. The report notes that the government has failed to act on the recommendations issued in a 2013 report by the Representative on the same theme.

Government cannot care for vulnerable children on the cheap

“The government is failing its duty as parent to the 9,000 children in its care,” says BCGEU Vice-President Doug Kinna, who represents child and family welfare workers in B.C.’s public service. 

“Government cannot continue to do child welfare on the cheap. Christy Clark can’t absolve her government from its parental responsibility towards vulnerable children and youth with complex needs,” says Kinna.

“The fact is, government is offloading its parental responsibility to contractors with little or no oversight, and no real verifications of caregiver credentials,” adds Kinna.

The safety and well-being of vulnerable children and families in the B.C. child welfare system is being compromised, because the government is not committing the resources required to protect them, with desperately tragic consequences. That is the key finding from the BCGEU Choose Children report, published in November.

“It’s time government gives back what it’s taken from children at risk,” says Smith.

To support our call to properly resource B.C. child welfare system, please visit


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


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