Staffing increase a positive step, but more needed to alleviate crisis in child, youth and family services

November 6, 2014

Hiring an additional 130 new staff in B.C.’s Ministry of Children and Family Development is a positive step forward, but more needs to be done to alleviate the crisis in the province’s child and family welfare system, the BCGEU said today.

“The government has recognized that frontline workers are unable to fulfill their child protection mandate at current staffing levels. The addition of 130 new staff by 2016 is a positive step in the right direction,” said BCGEU President Stephanie Smith. An additional 70 temporary staff working on ICM will be made permanent this year.

“But more needs to be done, including the adoption of caseload standards, and the restoration of $44 million in MCFD funding cuts since 2008,” said Smith. Frontline workers are buried under massive caseloads and constrained by severe staffing shortages compromising services for vulnerable children, youth and families at risk, says Choose Children, a report released today by the BCGEU. 

Eighty percent of frontline child, youth and family workers in B.C. have caseloads beyond the recommended best practice of 20 child protection cases per month. A third of surveyed workers were also carrying someone else’s caseload over and above their own, the Choose Children report reveals.

The Choose Children report gives voice to the concerns of B.C.’s children, youth, and family services workers, through surveys from 3,418 frontline staff as well as face to face meetings with 412 workers in 14 communities. The report includes six recommendations directed to government covering staffing levels, caseloads, budget, occupational health and safety, ICM and training.

“Frontline workers can’t always get to those who most urgently need help. Quite simply, there are neither enough resources, nor enough staff; and the volume of work—measured by caseloads—is intolerable. That’s wrong,” says Smith.

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