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December 17, 2010 permalink

Saskatchewan has produced a mind-numbing report on its child welfare system, For the Good of our Children and Youth (pdf). Examination of the list of participants shows dozens of child welfare agencies, no representatives of parents. The report rambles on with an around-the-world look at welfare in France, Germany and Belgium, while avoiding the main resource for children, mom and dad. In our standard word search of this kind of report looking for for mother, father and love there was just one hit, a reference to mother:

As stated by the World Health Organization in its publication The Solid Facts, 2003, people further down the socio-economic ladder are twice as likely to suffer serious illness and premature deaths as those near the top, and a good start in life depends on supporting mothers and young children.

The real problems in Saskatchewan child welfare are shown by two charts reproduced here at the end of the enclosed article. The province is taking too many children, or stated another way, child welfare is kicking too many moms and dads out of their kids' lives.

A scribe who got an A in Obfuscatory Writing 101 wrote recommendation 12:

Develop and implement a strategy to attract and retain child protection workers to deliver the new vision for child welfare and preventive family support programs

That might solve the problem, if we could figure out what it means.



Saskatchewan child welfare system needs dramatic overhaul: Report

June Draude and Bob Pringle
Social Services minister June Draude and panel Chair Bob Pringle discuss the Child Welfare Review Panel's report
Photo Credit: Rylee Carlson, Global Regina

A new report is painting a grim picture of Saskatchewan’s child welfare system, saying it is deteriorating and cannot continue as it exists.

The report, titled For the Good of Our Children and Youth, finds that the average caseload of children living out of home jumped 77 percent between 2000 and 2009, growing by nine percent in each year since 2005.

It warns that the foster care system is in crisis, and the outcomes for children and families are not acceptable. There is a lack of confidence in the system and child welfare workers are stressed and frustrated.

There are twelve recommendations that range from implementing fundamental changes that will create an easily accessible family support stream, to giving First Nations and Metis leaders a greater role in the system.

"As a panel, we hope and pray these recommendations will mobilize all of us to work together to create the necessary changes in our child welfare system, for the good of our children, youth and their families," Panel Chair Bob Pringle said in a release. "This is not a time for blame, but a time to move forward toward a more positive future. Our panel has done its best to capture what we clearly heard and to offer a new direction."

The Wall government plans to release how it plans to respond to the report in the spring of 2011.

The twelve recommendations are as follows.

  1. Implement fundamental changes to the child welfare system: create an easily accessible preventive family support stream for all families who need it and a much smaller formal child welfare stream for families where the authority of the courts is required.
  2. Make safe, culturally appropriate care for all Aboriginal children and youth a priority through a planned and deliberate transition to First Nations and Métis control of child welfare and preventive family support services.
  3. Include concepts contained in the Child and Youth First Principles and the Touchstones of Hope for Indigenous Children, Youth, and Families in legislation, and use these principles to guide planning and decision-making for children and youth.
  4. Develop and implement a Saskatchewan Child and Youth Agenda that guarantees children and youth become a high priority in the province and that all children get a good start in life.
  5. Acknowledge at all levels of government that poverty-related conditions drive child neglect and other social problems. Make significant improvements to the income support, affordable housing, and disability service systems used by Saskatchewan families.
  6. Emphasize collaborative approaches to child welfare and preventive family support services within the Ministry of Social Services, across Ministries, and with community partners. First Nations and Métis governments and their agency leaders must be involved.
  7. Establish family violence, mental health, and substance abuse services, available without delay, for families receiving child welfare and preventive family support services.
  8. Ensure the court system works better for families: minimize the number of child welfare cases that go before the courts, move cases to resolution more quickly, and ensure that families, children and youth have accessible legal advice.
  9. Take special measures to ensure children and youth in foster care and other specialized resources are safe and well cared for.
  10. Improve the existing system in areas where there is an urgent need for change.
  11. Develop court-recognized custom adoption processes for First Nations and Métis children and youth.
  12. Develop and implement a strategy to attract and retain child protection workers to deliver the new vision for child welfare and preventive family support programs.

Source: Global Lethbridge