Monday, April 25, 2005

Child Protection

I think one can tell a lot about the values of a government by how it
treats it’s most vulnerable citizens. If we take a look at the lives of
children and youth who are in need of protection, it is clear that the
BC Liberals couldn’t care less whether vulnerable and marginalized
children and youth live, or die in B.C. They are quite fine with
keeping the stories, lives and deaths of young people silent and
invisible. There has been between $175 and $200 million in cuts to
the Ministry of Children, Family and Development. This has been in
the guise of regional service system re-designs that have caused
chaos, profound systemic neglect and mass failure to uphold the
legal mandate of child protection in this Province.

It is a fact that Treasury Board is running MCFD and setting
child welfare policy in B.C. The BC Liberals have not only failed to
protect abused and neglected children, they are responsible for
leaving children in unsafe homes, turning their backs on youth
and have been instrumental in ensuring that a generation of
children will fill the welfare rolls, addictions and mental health
services and prisons.

The Liberals must be proud of their record of discrimination
and exploitation of children and youth. Their changes to child
labour laws have earned BC the international notoriety with
the United Nations for rolling back the protections available
to young people. And how about legislatively enshrining
discrimination based on age, as in the $6 training wage.

Cuts to group homes, foster homes, semi-independent living
and safe houses, as well as a cookie cutter policy of placing
youth on Youth Agreements at 16 to 19 has relegated a
generationof youth to homelessness, despair and marginali-
zation.Cuts to alternative schools, employment programs
and addiction services will ensure that youth will stay in the
gutter, where the Liberals clearly believe some people deserve
to live and die.

Three incompetent Ministers in 4 years, each one worst than
the last. At least Hogg knew the landscape, too bad hehad to take
the fall for the Premier in the Walls scandal,but he hasn’t done
too badly. Now he’s been elected as Liberal caucas chair. So
let’s see, two Ministers forced to resign due to connections to
messy political dealings. Hmm? Christie, the public has a hard
time believing you quit to spend more time with your family
especially now that you're in the paper and on TV all the time.
How are your husband and brother?

The BC Liberals have rewarded cronies and relatives with
untendered contracts and received nothing in return.Where is
the $400,000 Doug Walls? Where is the money GordonCampbell?
Money that was earmarked for children and adults with develop-
ment disabilities has disappeared and no accounting ever made to the
taxpayers of B.C. And even though they spent even more money
on an audit, which found Community Living Services still wasn’t
ready to be privatized, it’s still pushing forward with the agenda,
amidst chaos, with deep cracks waiting to swallow our most
vulnerable kids and adults up whole.

MCFD is also continuing to push forward with it's Aboriginal plan,
to devolve all child welfare to Aboriginal agencies. Never mind that
the entire first Board of Directors of Vancouver Aboriginal Child
and Family Services Society(VACFSS) was forced to resign. And that
missing funds have again never been accounted for. How about the
second rate child guardianship and protection standards that are
being applied to Aboriginal children in and out of care, with MCFD

Where are the answers to why there has been an increase of 33%
in the rate of death of children and youth in care? How about the
general increase in mortality of infants, children andyouth over the
last 4 years? Oops, we don’t know about that because the Liberals
cut the watchdogs, the Children’s Commission and the Child & Youth
Advocate. Jane Morley, BC’s Child and Youth Officer has certainly
made herself clear that she will not raise her voice to say how poorly
this government is in taking care of our children & youth. It’s
amazing how a political appointment and some money will cause
one’s ethics, integrity and morals to ebb away. These comments
should be viewed as a complete vote of NO CONFIDENCE in
Jane Morley and her office. I hope it was all worth it, Ms. Morley.
The children, youth and families of B.C. are worse off under your
watch. and your silence is a slap in the face to all who deserve
your voice to speak on their behalf.

BC Association of Social Workers, (April 13, 2005). A Healthy
Child Welfare System Should Not Fear Public Scrutiny.

BC Association of Social Workers, (March 2005). Media
Statement from BCASW Regarding Advocacy in
Child Welfare System.

CBC News, (Jun 2 2004). Audit on aboriginal funds due this week.

CBC News, (May 12 2004). Bad management, but no fraud in Walls
affair: report.

CBC News, (2004, January 23). Hogg resigns over audit.

CBC News (2004, January 19). RCMP recommended charges in
car dealership case.

CBC News, (2004 May 12). Report on Doug Walls due Wednesday.
CBC News, (2004, Mar. 4). Shake-up at Community Living B.C.

Canadian Centre for Police Alternatives. BC now has lowest child
labour standards in North America.

Judith Ince, (January 11, 2005). Cody's Death: How Deep an
Investigation? The Fontaine toddler died in a troubled home after
social worker cutbacks. The Tyee: A Feisty one Online.

Hertzman, Clyde, (May 31, 2004). Making Early Childhood
Development a Priority: Lessons fromVancouver.
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Holman, Sean, Public Eye Online. MCFD Headlines.

(2004, September 17). A motherhood issue.
Yesterday, Children and Family Development Minister
Christy Clark resigned her cabinet position and announced
she wouldn't be seeking re-election.

(June 20, 2004).Basketcase ministry diagnosis confirmed?
(August 16, 2004). When is a scandal not a scandal?
(August 18, 2004). Running into Walls.
(September 20, 2004). Gone but not forgotten.
(December 03, 2004. Next come the locusts.
(January 19, 2005). Hogg wins popularity contest.
(February 02, 2005). Bets on how long this appointment will last?

Helesia Luke & Graeme Moore, (March 20, 2004). Who's Looking Out
for Our Kids? Deregulating Child Labour Law in BC.
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Ministry of Children and Family Development (2004, Jan. 23).
Minister Hogg Resigns from Cabinet.

Ministry of Finance, (May 6, 2004). Investigation of CareNet
Technology Society and the Provincial Government's
Dealings with Douglas F. Walls.

Ministry of Finance, (February, 2002). Report on Vancouver
Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society.

Office of the Premier, (2004, Jan. 23). The appointment of the
previous deputy minister, Ministry of Children and Family
Development, Chris Haynes, has been rescinded.

Paterson, Jody (June 20, 2001). A Closer Look: Uncaring
bureaucrat the worst of parents. Victoria Times-Colonist.

David Schreck, Strategic Thoughts. Ministry of Children and
Family Development Stories.

(January 3, 2003). Child Protection in the New Era.
(January 8, 2003 ). Reports of Abuse & Neglect.
(January 30, 2003). Cuts to Child Protection.
(February 17, 2003). 20% Fewer Child Protection Investigations.
(July 15, 2003). Feb-June Numbers Confirm Drop in Child Protection

(March 3, 2005). Budget Shifting in the Ministry of Children
and Family Development.

(March 22, 2005). Over 900 Deaths without Adequate Reviews.

Vital Statistics Annual Report 2003. Death-related Statistics.

(January 14, 2005). Cody Fontaine's and Matthew Vaudreuil's

Paying Attention: Paul Willcocks on BC Politics & Life.
New children's ministry cuts an election issue.

Willcocks, Paul (28 February 2001). Children poorly cared for by
a Ministry in Chaos. The Vancouver Sun.

Willcocks, Paul. Judge sheds light on murky ministry for kids.
The Vancouver Sun.

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