Campbell's cuts lead to delays in child protection reports
VICTORIA – Internal government documents obtained by the Opposition show that the Campbell government is prepared to tolerate higher levels of risk for vulnerable children as Child Protection Reports are being left incomplete for longer, NDP Children and Family Development Critic Adrian Dix said today.
“Statistics from the Ministry’s own MARS database show that Child Protection Reports are not being completed in an acceptable timeframe,” said Dix. “The established standard timeframe for Child Protection Reports is 30 days, but this government is routinely failing to meet that test. Ministry statistics now show that thousands remain incomplete for more than 90 days. When the BC Liberals slashed the Ministry’s budget and cut hundreds of workers, government’s ability to properly report on child protection cases was sharply reduced. This is an unacceptable risk that the government is tolerating.”
The statistics from the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s MARS database show that between October 2003 and October 2005, the number of child protection reports that are being left open for greater than 30 days has increased markedly, with an especially alarming increase in cases left open for over 90 days. In October 2003, there were 1,940 reports left open for greater than 90 days. By October 2004, the number had increased to 2, 409. By October 2005, the number of child protection reports left open for more than 90 days was up to 2,962.
“Between October 2003 and October 2005, the number of Child Protection Reports left incomplete for more then 90 days has increased a staggering 53 per cent,” said Dix. “These delays are hampering the government’s ability to monitor children in care and those children who are known to the ministry. The government is putting these vulnerable children at risk.
“The statistics are a clear indictment of the cuts the BC Liberals made to the number of frontline social workers,” said Dix. “Workloads for child protection workers are unmanageable. Some workers have caseloads of well over 30 children in care, but that doesn’t even count the total number of families they interact with. Child protection workers also interact with other vulnerable children like those in kith and kin agreements and others known to the ministry. The government’s failure to complete Child Protection Reports in a timely manner is putting those kids at greater risk.”
The Government’s Management Analysis Reporting System statistics are attached.