British Columbia’s children’s watchdog has slammed the Ministry of Children and Family Development over an independent review looking into the Ministry.
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond is not pleased with a report put forth by retired civil servant Bob Plecas calling for a major overhaul.
The report was supposed to examine a specific case involving children who were removed from their mother’s care.
Turpel-Lafond says the report was completed without consulting her office, First Nations, or children in care.
Instead, she says Plecas reviewed ministry procedures.
In a statement to CKNW, MCFD Minister Stephanie Cadieux says the Plecas report included numerous suggestions, valuable to the ministry.
Turpel-Lafond is urging the ministry and the legislature to pause implementation of the Plecas report until consultation can occur, and a proper report into the original investigation is released.
Full statement from the MCFD below:
Given that we’ve only just received the report, I will need to take the time to review and give the report the consideration it deserves. Naturally, the Representative has every right to comment on the Plecas report and I hope she has the chance to discuss it directly with Mr. Plecas. I know he reached out to her early on in his work and she declined to meet with him, which is unfortunate as there may have been an opportunity to address and resolve some of the concerns she is now raising.
For government’s part – and where my focus will be as the Minister of Children and Family Development – our priority is a multi-year plan to improve child protection legislation, policy, standards and practice. We are pursuing that work and will have more to say in the coming weeks. What I can tell you is that the building of that plan will include oversight by way of an independent advisory body with Aboriginal and First Nations representation as well as a seat at the table for a senior member of the Representative for Children and Youth’s office. The group’s full membership will soon be made public as their first meeting is scheduled for May 24.
Also upcoming is the B.C. Children and Family Gathering, which will bring together provincial and federal governments with First Nations leadership, delegated agencies, individuals and communities to talk about improving outcomes for Aboriginal children throughout B.C. This is over and above the one-on-one meetings Grand Chief Ed John continues to have with Aboriginal and First Nations leaders on general Aboriginal child welfare issues. His final report is due to me at the end of July.
The Plecas report included numerous suggestions for the ministry and outlined a particular path forward. It is a valuable planning tool we will use in putting together our multi-year plan. We are also considering advice and recommendations we’ve received from a variety of stakeholders, including the RCY’s office and Grand Chief Ed John. The ministry’s task is to carefully weigh all of that input in determining a path forward that best meets the needs of the children and families we serve.