Saturday, August 1, 2009

More Setbacks for BC's Abused Children

As a former child protection social worker, I've had the privilege of working with the specialized Child Protection unit (similar to the SCAN unit in the story) at BC Children's Hospital. The loss of the SCAN unit in Victoria is a devastating blow to abused, neglected and victimized children on the Island. The specialized training and unbelievable professionalism, sensitivity and compassion of the people working with children, parents, caregivers and professionals seen in these kind of programs is unparalleled.

How low have we sunk in BC that we would allow our government and health authorities to do away with a program that provides specialized health care to children who have been beaten, broken, raped, physically and sexually abused?
How could a responsible health care administration fail to have contingencies in place to replace key staff who leave these important kinds of programs? It is incomprehensible.

The time has come for all of us to step up and tell the government - our children matter, they count and we cannot allow them to be mistreated any longer.

Find your MLA here and tell them these cuts are unacceptable and this program must be restored ASAP.


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Island's only child abuse unit closes

Shutdown forces some victims to travel to Vancouver for help

Lindsay Kines, Times Colonist. August 1, 2009.

Excerpt:

The only specialized medical team for assessing child abuse and neglect cases on Vancouver Island has shut down, forcing some young victims to travel to Vancouver for help.

The Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) unit, which operated out of the Queen Alexandra Centre for Children's Health, included a part-time psychologist, registered nurse, social worker and receptionist, Damstetter said. The unit received about 200 referrals a year.

Child Representative Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond urged officials to get the program up and running again as soon as possible. It's not good enough, she said, to rely on emergency-room physicians who may lack the training, expertise and backup team needed to handle complex child-abuse cases.

Turpel-Lafond also questioned why VIHA allowed the Island's only SCAN team to disband because one or two people departed. "You can't place the whole team on an individual," she said. "It's a team. Individuals will come and go ... You need to be prepared for transitions."

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