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

UBCO Heat teams unable to secure any wins against Mount Royal Cougars

The mens and womens volleyball and basketball teams went 0-4, but all have rematches Saturday night

Rockets held scoreless in loss against Red Deer

Rockets will look for some points in final game of road trip against Edmonton

New maintenance crew to look after Okanagan Connector

Acciona Infrastructure Maintenance Inc. will replace Argo Road Maintenance Inc. in 2019

New Lake Country arts council to request funds from district

The arts council will ask the district for $8,000 from 2019 to 2021

Your guide to winter light ups around the Okanagan

From Vernon to Summerland, with a stop in Kelowna, we’ve found some activities for you to enjoy

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

Most Read