Minister promises more child protection workers

200 staff over two years, centralized office functions aim to relieve social workers juggling too many cases

Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux

B.C.’s struggling child protection service will be strengthened by the addition of 200 more social worker and support staff positions over the next two years, Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux says.

The announcement came a day after the union representing staff issued a report saying they continue to deal with excessive workload and staff shortages due to high staff turnover, unfilled positions and budget cuts.

Cadieux said the additional staff and centralizing of child protection intake screening is a response to the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union report, and previous critical reports by Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond.

The BCGEU estimates that 80 per cent of social workers have more than the recommended 20 cases, with nearly half carrying more than 30 and some reporting caseloads of 70 or more.

Cadieux said 70 auxiliary employees are being made permanent immediately, mostly in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, and the target is to bring the total to 200 new positions by the end of 2016.

“We’ve heard the concerns of our staff about their workload, about their inability to do all of the things that they feel are necessary,” Cadieux said.

NDP children and family critic Doug Donaldson said help is still far away for rural and northern communities where recruiting and retaining staff is most difficult. He said the Smithers ministry office has seen 100 per cent turnover of child protection staff in the last three years.

“It’s really good that the government has finally woken up, six years after the child representative said that staffing issues and turnover issues need to be addressed,” Donaldson said.

A mobile response team is being expanded to help offices with long-standing vacancies cope while new staff is recruited and trained.

Cadieux said the ministry budget has increased by about $47 million since 2008, with another increase set for next year. Adjusting office hours and doing more administrative work online or by phone allows the ministry to focus its resources on face-to-face services, she said.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Priest Camp near Summerland was created in 1845

Agreement formed between Grand Chief Nicola (1793-1859) and Father Giovanni Nobili (1812-1856)

COLUMN: Choosing a face to show the world

It will not be easy to select the face to display on Canada’s new $5 bill

Summerland Steam lose twice in Junior B hockey action

Next action for Junior B hockey team is on Friday, Jan. 17 in Summerland

Summerland drama students to stage Matilda

Story by Roald Dahl will be presented at Centre Stage Theatre in February

Petition to install safety barriers on Hwy 97 garners over 500 supporters

Yesterday a fatal collision on Hwy 97 claimed the life of one individual

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

‘Extensive’ work planned at Big Bar landslide ahead of salmon, steelhead migration

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site of the slide from June

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Royal deal clears way for Harry, Meghan part-time Canada move: experts

Keith Roy of the Monarchist League of Canada said the deal is exactly what Harry and Meghan asked for

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

Most Read