Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Safety first for BC's Abused & Neglected Kids: I call B.$.

In this great video by Public Eye Online of a very unnerved Minister Mary Polak (Child & Family Development) explaining why MCFD is no longer setting targets and providing an accounting of how many children and families are cycling through MCFD and not getting the interventions and support they really need.

From Safety First @ Public Eye Online
  • Rate of re-occurrence of child abuse and neglect increased from 16.9 percent in 2004/05 to 20.4 percent as of December 2009.
  • The ministry has now dumped that performance measure from its service plan.
  • Strong, Safe and Supported, the ministry's massive and poorly understood effort to overhaul the way children are protected in this province.[Ed. Or not, as the case might be.]
  • None of those new measures deal with child safety outcomes.
  • British Columbians can still find out about the rate in a separate document posted online, among several other measurements not included in the service plan.
  • The ministry has abandoned setting public targets for reducing the recurrence of child abuse and neglect.
  • Eight years after the tragic death of a two-year-oldtriggered a now four-year-old independent review of British Columbia's child protection system, one has to wonder what that says about the direction that department is headed in.
If the service plan has to have a limited amount of bullets for some stupid reason then I would respectfully state that THE most important thing MCFD could do is fulfill it's bloody mandate - PROTECTING children and youth, ensuring their SAFETY to the best of their ability and providing children and families with the resources, SUPPORTS and tools they require to be okay.

The service plan is NOT what should guide MCFD, the Child, Family & Community Services Act should. Maybe Minister Polak and Ms. Du Toit should read it sometime, since it is supposed to be the legislated mandate of the Ministry. Here's some Coles notes:

Guiding principles

2 This Act must be interpreted and administered so that the safety and well-being of children are the paramount considerations and in accordance with the following principles:

(a) children are entitled to be protected from abuse, neglect and harm or threat of harm;

They are doing away with the statistics because they are decimating the child welfare system even further and they wouldn't want to capture that in stats. That does not make for good photo, or video ops.

It will be blatantly obvious though, so many kids are being left at-risk and with the financial situation more families are in crisis and vulnerable which increase stress and other factors that contribute to abuse and neglect.

How can a government not even care who gets hurt?
It all comes down to values.
Transparency, openness and accountability are pretty important ones to me. We owe it to our kids to do all we can to decrease the number of kids who are abused and neglected.

If we can't even do that, our society has been completely degraded and is entirely negligent in meeting the basic human rights of it's most vulnerable citizens. And that cannot be allowed to continue, nor tolerated in our society and province.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Reasons #37 & #38 People Hate Politicians: They Speak & They Mess with $hit when they Shouldn't

You know, politicians get a really bad rap, but clearly, some deserve it and sometimes there are those rare moments when citizens get to see them at their worst, or when they are being the most politiciany and their true colours come shining through.

Watch for that here: The Ministry of Hair Splitting
Public Eye Online.

Last week, the ministry of children and family development's top bureaucrat told MLAs she's "never refused" to meet with the government's independent child protection watchdog, despite having recently rebuffed the watchdog's request for a briefing. But the bureaucrat's political boss, Mary Polak, didn't find any fault with Lesley du Toit's contention because, according to her, there's a difference between a meeting and briefing.

"Stilwell told the Straight by phone it was “likely” that the CHP party platform advocated the recriminalization of homosexuality while she was at the helm, but that this fact had “gone out” of her head in 2010."

Advocate Romi Chandra furious at Heather Stilwell selection to the board of the B.C. College of Social Workers

A Collegial Atmosphere?
Public Eye Online.

An outspoken social conservative will be overseeing the new body responsible for one of the province's most liberal professions - social workers. Children and Family Development Minister Mary Polak quietly appointed Heather Stilwell to the B.C. College of Social Workers's board of directors effective January 1. Ms. Stilwell, who was reportedly the minister's mentor when the two were Surrey school trustees, has impressive list of social conservative credentials including being leader of the federal Christian Heritage Party and the provincial Family Coalition Party.

She was also president of the anti-abortion Pro-Life Society of B.C. and the Alliance for Life Canada, as well as being a board member and western regional coordinator for Campaign Life.

As a school trustee, she supported limiting sex education and opposed condom machines and books featuring same-sex parents.

Minister Polak's predecessor Tom Christensen introduced the legislation that created the college in 2008. The college is charged with registering social workers, developing practice standards and investigating complaints about members of the profession.

Mary Polak: Appointment flips bird
Langley Advance. Published: Friday, February 12, 2010.


From the BC Association of Social Workers:

Dear Minister Polak:

I am writing at the request of several of our members who have expressed considerable concern over your recent appointment of Heather Stilwell to the board of the BC College of Social Workers.

We acknowledge that Ms. Stilwell brings valued administrative and legislative experience to the BCCSW Board through her past service on the Surrey School board. However, as you are likely aware, many social workers have reacted very strongly to Ms. Stilwell’s appointment, citing her publicly stated positions on homosexuality, abortion and other issues which they believe run contrary to social work values. They question why someone whose views differ so radically from deeply-held social work principles was selected to be a public appointee to a college of social workers. These principles are made clear in our Canadian Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics:
  • Social workers respect the unique worth and inherent dignity of all people and uphold human rights.
  • Social workers uphold each person’s right to self-determination, consistent with that person’s capacity and with the rights of others.
  • Social workers respect the diversity among individuals in Canadian society and the right of individuals to their unique beliefs consistent with the rights of others.
Read the whole letter from Pam Miller, President of the BCASW here.