Room for Improvement – a report released today by the Representative for Children and Youth (RCY) – makes recommendations for additional funding as well as coordination between the Ministry of Education, school districts, and the Ministry of Children and Family Development to help children and youth in care succeed academically. The report also highlights the need for culturally appropriate supports for Indigenous children in care, a service the BC Government Service and Employees' Union (BCGEU) has long advocated for.
"The report makes clear the academic gap between B.C.'s children in care and other students, with even greater disparities among Indigenous children in care," says BCGEU President Stephanie Smith. "Social workers in the BCGEU, who have long advocated for similar changes, stand behind the Representative's positions on these vital issues."
In 2014 and 2015 respectively, the BCGEU released the Choose Children and Closing the Circle reports which called for major investments in the system of children and youth in care. These investments included increased resources, staffing, educational support, and cultural training in all aspects of care for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous children and youth.
The Room for Improvement report also highlights ongoing issues around understaffing and the need to address high staff turnover and workloads. "If adequate staffing levels were reached, it would be possible for social workers to work more closely with schools to ensure that children in care have what they need to succeed," says Judy Fox-McGuire, BCGEU vice president for Social Information and Health – Component 6.
In light of demographic patterns revealed in recent census data, the need for culturally relevant services for Aboriginal children and youth in care could not be more pressing. The BCGEU calls on provincial and federal governments to come to agreement and clarify responsibilities around ensuring that some of the most vulnerable members of our society have the supports they need.
Click here to download the BCGEU reports:
For more information please contact Bronwen Barnett, BCGEU Communications (604) 719-4713.
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