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

Island Health issues safer drug-use tips ahead of music festival season

Health authority aims to reduce overdose risks at festivals

Federal government commits $9.1 million toward UVic Indigenous Law building

Contribution supports Canada’s first Canada’s first Indigenous Law program

Soul Shakers kick off free outdoor concerts in Oak Bay

Music fills the air at Willows Beach Park for series of concerts this summer

PRIDE on the Barge caps off last Friday of Pride Month

Starting at 5 p.m. with music from Rocksteady

National HIV Testing Day comes to the West Shore

17.1 per cent increase in new HIV infections in Canada between 2014 and 2017

VIDEO: Tributes flow on 10th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death

Jackson received a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol on June 25, 2009. He died at age 50

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the penalty should be increased for tossing a burning cigarette from a vehicle?

With grasslands and forests around Vancouver Island and across B.C. reaching tinder… Continue reading

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Sandwiches and mascara could mean driving fines

RCMP say if you cause an accident well eating you could be penalized

Delta cat severely injured in animal trap was likely stuck for days, owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Vancouver Island woman assaulted after confronting thief

RCMP warn residents to call for police assistance

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Most Read