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

Final key components for Johnson Street Bridge installed this weekend in Victoria

Dynamic Beast crane barge arrives back in town on Friday

Metchosin supports moving to three-year municipal term

Some councillors say four years is too much of a commitment

Wind warning in effect for Greater Victoria

Strong winds could reach up to 80 km/hr along coastal areas

Whisky society commits to charity donation in wake of whisky raids

Refund of Victoria Whiskey Festival tickets won’t impact charity beneficiaries

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington for the day

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, “high avalanche danger”

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Touring art from war-torn Syria on display at Cedar Hill

Behind the Lines: Contemporary Syrian Art, Jan. 24 to Feb. 5 at Cedar Hill Arts Centre

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Vessel washed ashore in Campbell River during last night’s storm

A vessel appears to have gotten loose and washed to shore on… Continue reading

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

Most Read