Children in care need more than platitudes from the B.C. Liberals

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VICTORIA— Another damning report from the children’s representative shows it’s time for the B.C. Liberals to deliver more than platitudes when it comes to improving the lives of children in their care, say the New Democrats.

After yet another critical report from the Independent Representative for Children and Youth, the B.C. Liberals need to take real steps to improve the lives of children in their care, says New Democrat children and families critic Carole James.

“The B.C. Liberals talk about doing better, but report after report shows just the opposite.” said James. “How many reports and tragedies will it take for this government to act? We need to protect and improve the lives of children in government care.”

The report, Lost in the Shadows, from Independent Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, details the life and death of a young First Nations girl. It exposes how unmanageable social worker caseloads, non-existent mental health services, and a complete lack of coordination and follow up by a range of professionals and adults contributed to her death.

“For children in care, the government is often the only family there for them, and government is letting them down,” said James. “On the eve of the second family day in our province, more than two years after Premier Clark promised to put families first, this government is still putting children in their care last.

“The Premier, Minister and government have a responsibility to these children. Where is the action plan to address this report? What changes have occurred in this region? What additional supports are in place for high risk children, including the sister in this specific family? What other regions have un-manageable caseloads? What is the Ministry doing specifically to address those issues, with timelines and responsibilities?

“The heartbreaking loss of this little girl needs to be a wakeup call for this government and this province. Children in our care deserve better.”