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.

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