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.

 

Just Posted

North Island Tour De Rock rider Benjamin Leah leads team to Port Hardy

“You don’t have issues and problems when you look at these kids and how much they’re going through.”

Vancouver Island pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

RCMP had samples of the seized substances tested by Health Canada

Fishin’ Corner: Stand up for your fishing rights

“Don’t give in to DFO and their quota bureaucracy that the fish belong to everyone.”

B.C. students send books to displaced students of Hornby Island school fire

Maple Ridge elementary school teacher says students learned about acts of kindness

Get ready for a week of sunshine across Vancouver Island

Environment Canada is forecasting temperatures in the high teens all this week

AFN national chief suggests moving Trans Mountain pipeline route

Perry Bellegarde said many Indigenous communities believe in the need to diversify export markets

Sister of plane crash victim that went missing in B.C. starting support network

Tammy Neron wants to help families who are searching for missing people

‘Hello, 911? There’s a horse in my living room’

Sproat Lake firefighters called to ‘rescue’ quarter-horse from Alberni Valley house

Assault charge withdrawn vs. ex-Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna

Former Toronto player agrees to peace bond

UPDATED: Bill Cosby gets 3-10 years in prison for sexual assault

Judge also declared the disgraced comedian a ‘sexually violent predator’

B.C. making progress on senior care staffing, Adrian Dix says

Minister aims to meet residential care provincial standard by 2021

B.C. realtor receives racist letter touching on ‘empty homes’

The letter has been met with condemnation of the racism after Winnie Wu posted it online

Motorcyclist dead following crash on Vancouver Island

Victim was driving down from Mount Washington Resort on Strathcona Parkway

WATCH: Rare close encounter with whale pod

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Most Read