B.C. children’s watchdog: government spends resources on useless initiatives

B.C.’s children’s watchdog says the Ministry of Children and Families has dropped the ball when it comes to helping Aboriginal children in this province.

In the last decade, the province has spent 66 million dollars to improve service for Aboriginal children and youth in B.C.

On Unfiltered with Jill Krop, the Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond said a significant amount of that money has gone to people, who provide the programs, and almost none has gone directly to benefit the children.

Turpel-Lafond said the ministry needs to get back to the “real work which is serving kids.”

“We’re about serving kids, we’re not going to be about giving money to the adults to go out and talk about it and not do it.  And we actually have to have a real collaboration and on Aboriginal children and youth we need to actually work with them. And this is what’s the most perplexing thing about the work that I’ve had over the years is I’ve released reports as you know about terrible things that’s happened to kids where they didn’t receive any service and the underlying issue has always been why aren’t they? Well the ministry has been captivated by other things and not enough children have received the service.”

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When asked by Jill Krop what the ministry was captivated by,  Turpel-Lafond responded “for a number of years they were going to plan 10, 20,15, five regional authorities that didn’t happen.  The only regional authority that was created was a non Aboriginal authority which is Community Living BC, which itself has had quite a history in terms of not being able to serve children.

She said more than half the kids in the ministry care are Aboriginal.

The NDP Critic for Children and Family Development Carole James also spoke on Unfiltered with Jill Krop.

She agreed with Turpel-Lafond that there seems to be a lot of talking and not a lot of action when it comes to serving the kids particularity First Nations children.

James said she’s not surprised by the report , and is not confident the government will act on  Turpel-Lafond’s five recommendations.

“The ministry say they’re going to accept recommendations and then nothing happens. This has occurred over and over again under this government.”

The opposition critic said “it’s time to put a plan in place that they’ll follow, that has accountability, clear time lines, they know, they measure what they’re doing, and they report out on it afterwards”

Turpel-Lafond said the money should  be allocated to services such as child welfare, child and youth mental health, children with special needs, adoption and youth justice.

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Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux admitted that “what is clear from the report is we need to do a better job of outlining and clarifying what the services are, how they’re being delivered and that we are indeed all working in the best interests of children.”

To read the full report, go here.

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