Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Petition & Resolution for a National Child & Youth Commissioner

Canada's National Child & Youth Commissioner

Whereas on November 18th 1989, an all party Resolution to eradicate child poverty was passed unanimously by the House of Commons and almost twenty years later, Campaign 2000’s report released in 2008 has found that 760,000, or almost one child out of every nine children in Canada lives in poverty; and

Whereas on January 12th 1992 Canada ratified and became a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and today, there has been little progress toward the integration of the spirit, intent and commitment to transfer the theory of Child Rights from theory into reality and as a foundation to Canadian social and economic policy for our children and youth; and

Whereas there is no governmental, or national body, or organization has taken leadership, or responsibility for tracking and monitoring the thousands of children who are missing, trafficked, exploited and murdered in Canada each year; and

Whereas Canada, unlike many other nations with much better outcomes for their children, has no national leadership and oversight, nor takes any responsibility for overseeing and monitoring the provinces and territories in their provision of services to children and youth regarding their health, well-being and outcomes and they are Canada’s future; and

Whereas, in a recent UNICEF report, Canada tied for last place amongst developed nations on ten standards for child care and failed to meet minimum standards for a national plan for disadvantaged children, subsidized and regulated child care services for 25% of children under 3, 1% of GDP spent on early childhood services, a child poverty rate less than 10% and 80% of child care staff trained; and

Therefore, be it resolved that the signatories call for the creation of a Select Standing Child and Youth parliamentary committee, which will be non-partisan, with appointees who are leaders in child and youth advocacy in their provinces, Canada and internationally; and

Therefore be it resolved that the signatories call on the Canadian government to immediately create and fund a National Child & Youth Commissioner, an independent officer of Parliament, whose role and mandate will be to take national leadership in overseeing and monitoring of how each province and territory is meeting the human rights and needs of it’s children and youth as set out by the UNCRC.

Finally be it resolved that the National Child & Youth Commissioner will report annually on the progress being made by each province and territory and Canada, as a whole, toward meeting the human rights and needs of it’s children and youth and will provide public recommendations for the Canadian government on how to ensure that child and youth’s rights and needs are the foundation of social and economic policy in Canada.

The Resolution above has been ratified by the following groups, join us in ratifiying this important resolution and make a difference in the lives of Canadian children & youth:

BC Association of Social Workers
Manitoba Association of Social Workers

BC Government & Service Employees Union (BCGEU) - Local 603 & Component 6
National Union of Public & General Employees (NUPGE)

**To pass the resolution within your organization, just copy & paste and add your organizations' name in paragraphs 6 and 7 where it says "signatories."

If you notify me @
I will add your organization to the list that have ratified the resolution.

Sign the Petition to make this resolution a reality in Canada.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Child Welfare Bits & Bytes


Kids, the Issue that Never Played
No party hurried to make a bold stand on childcare debate. But stakes are high.

Charles Campbell
, Published: May 12, 2009.

B.C. ministry sent neglected boys back to alcoholic mother
CBC News.

VIDEO: Kathy Tomlinson reports: B.C. ministry sent boys back to alcoholic mother (Runs 2:35)


New from the CCPA: Childcare and drawing the link between welfare and food banks


Great list of Events & Conference from
Caring for First Nations Children Society happening this year:


Here are a couple of
excellent articles using Narrative theory to deconstruct
crisis in our work with children and families:

From Isolation to Community: Collborating with Children & Families in Crisis
Elizabeth Buckley and Philip Decter

'Making Haste Slowly' Applying a Narrative Approach to the task of Managing
a 'Crisis' Situation
Manja Visschedijk

Find the articles here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hands Tied, Child protection workers talk about working in, and leaving, B.C.'s child welfare system

Pivot report finds social workers quitting in frustration

Pivot Legal Society. May 6 2009.

A new Pivot report based on a survey of 109 social workers in the Ministry of Children and Families concludes that front line workers leave due to inability to do their jobs in the face of huge caseload

Hands Tied, Child protection workers talk about working in, and leaving, B.C.'s child welfare system

Download pdf of report here

Published May 2009 by Pivot Legal Society.

BC Association of Social Workers
May 6 2009.


This new report, released by Pivot Legal Society, is a thoughtful and sobering analysis offering frontline child protection social workers the opportunity to voice their experiences, frustrations and hopes for a better way of practicing child protection Social Work in British Columbia. For years BCASW has been reporting many of these same concerns to government and advocating for the best interests of children, youth and families and for the frontline workers who dedicate themselves day-in and day-out to fight to help our most vulnerable citizens.

The four most cited reasons for leaving MCFD’s child protection front lines include “unmanageable caseloads, a lack of confidence in all levels of leadership and management, high stress levels, and a lack of preventative and supportive resources for children and families.” Across BC, frontline workers, community support workers and other professionals are struggling under the heavy weight of caring for those who appear to be left behind. This is not theoretical to child protection social workers, who work with people who require immediate help, within a supportive safety net that is completely frayed.

We endorse key recommendations of Pivot’s report and add some of our own in the hope that the next administration will work with stakeholders, most importantly children, youth and families to make substantive, timely and crucial improvements to the child welfare system:

  • Adequately fund the entire child welfare system with a priority on increasing staffing levels and reducing caseloads;
  • Increase funding for community preventative and supportive services, prioritizing the needs of Aboriginal children and families, immigrant and refugee families and children with developmental disabilities;
  • Decrease the administrative burden and re-focus efforts on engaging in respectful collaboration, caring and supportive work with clients and other stakeholders;
  • Mentor, encourage and “support leaders who instill confidence in workers” (Pivot)
  • Provide support for employees in ongoing education and create an organizational culture that truly encourages learning, professional development and Social Work value-based practice;
  • Offer those working in child protection opportunities for transfers into other program areas to receive respite from potential or actual burnout, for workers to renew themselves and as a way to retain skilled and educated employees.
  • Create auxiliary pools of individuals with child protection experience who are available for contract work, offer opportunities for flexible work hours and increase job sharing and part-time hours to accommodate work-family-life balance.

Child protection workers demand immediate government action to address staffing crisis
BCGEU. May 6 2009.

"How many more reports will it take for the Campbell government to recognize there is a staffing crisis in BC's child protection system and it's only going to get worse - with vulnerable children and families paying the price," said Darryl Walker, president of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU).

"Child protection is a high-stress job to begin with. Try doing it in a crisis-driven and under-resourced system like we have in BC. It's no wonder child protection workers are leaving their jobs at an alarming rate. They're fed up with having to do more with less, and having neither the confidence in the ministry nor the resources to keep children safe and support families in need."


Survey finds social workers are stressed

Janet Brown | Email news tips to Janet
CKNW. 5/6/2009 .

A survey finds social workers in the Ministry of Children and families are quitting in frustration because of huge caseloads.

Child protection workers say on average they're only able to spend 35 minutes with a family with sometimes up to 60 caseloads on their plate.

BC Goverment and Service Employees Union President Darryl Walker says youngsters are suffering as a result because "we are not doing a good job of protecting our children, especially those where there is some requirement of taking them into custody."

The report by the Pivot Legal Society also found 60-per cent of former child protection workers say they were only sometimes able to act in the best interest of children.

March 18, 2009

Representative's Report #5 - Critical Injuries and Deaths: Reviews and Investigations

Representative for Children & Youth.

RCY reviews and investigations of critical injuries or child deaths from October 1, 2008 to January 31, 2009.

To view the report, click here.