They know what napalm smells like in the morning

Christmas at the Rockpile means the ministry of children and family development is no longer being raided on a daily basis by the provincial New Democrats. So deputy minister Alison MacPhail has taken advantage of this lull in the conflict to climb out of her bombed-out office/bunker to pen a message to her troops. She writes: "It has been a few months since my last message to you, and I apologize for not being in touch as often as usual. This fall has been a challenging time for each of us in the ministry and, as you know, there has been significant attention paid in the Legislature and the media to MCFD and to the issue of child deaths and reviews."

"Minister (Stan) Hagen has also asked me to relay his support to you. He strongly believes that the work of this ministry is among the finest in the world, and he has publicly commended the dedication and hard work of our front-line social workers in the Legislature and to the media on several occasions." She then adds that, "If you have questions about the processes underway, or are feeling concerned about the events of the past few months, I encourage you to talk your supervisor or to a member of the senior management team." The following is a complete copy of that email, which was leaked to Public Eye.

***

It has been a few months since my last message to you, and I apologize for not being in touch as often as usual. This fall has been a challenging time for each of us in the ministry and, as you know, there has been significant attention paid in the Legislature and the media to MCFD and to the issue of child deaths and reviews.

I want to express again my appreciation and support for the extraordinary work that you do in communities across the province every day. Your expertise, dedication and caring improves the lives of countless children and families in British Columbia.

Minister Hagen has also asked me to relay his support to you. He strongly believes that the work of this ministry is among the finest in the world, and he has publicly commended the dedication and hard work of our front-line social workers in the Legislature and to the media on several occasions.

We know that you are working hard to support every child in British Columbia, whether it be in child protection, children and youth with special needs, provincial services, early childhood development, child care or child and youth mental health. Your work results in many successes and can be extremely rewarding. However, we recognize that the increased media and public scrutiny of our ministry, particularly when it is not favourable, can have an negative impact on staff at all levels.

We are working hard to address the concerns that have been raised. We know the continual review of our policies and procedures, combined with the implementation of improved practices, is a necessary and important part of being the best we can be. We support the various reviews that are currently underway, and I believe the resulting recommendations will assist us in improving the services provided to the children and their families in this province. More information on the scope of those reviews can be found on the Child and Youth Officer's website at http://www.gov.bc.ca/cyo/down/summary_of_processes.pdf.

You may also have noticed a link to a new website, called Child Protection Update, located on our ministry homepage. This new website has been developed to provide the public and the media with easier access to a wide range of information about child welfare practices. It includes FAQs, factsheets, reports and links to other related sites. Minister Hagen has posted a letter introducing the site, and I encourage you to take a few minutes to read his letter and explore the material included there.

If you have questions about the processes underway, or are feeling concerned about the events of the past few months, I encourage you to talk your supervisor or to a member of the senior management team. As always, you can reach me directly at Alison.MacPhail@gov.bc.ca.

On behalf of Minister Hagen and your Executive, I want to thank each and every one of you for your ongoing commitment to providing exceptional services to children and families throughout the province

Alison MacPhail
Deputy Minister

2 Comments

The web site is a bit of a hoot. If you wish to respond you end up with Information BC.
why don't they just admit they screwed up and did up all the files instead of this charade.

Interesting how a ejmail sort of ends up in the public view soquickly. one might believe the staff are as upset as the opposition .The only person Stan is worried about is himself. Hey the pay is pretty good and all he does is read the same stuff over and over again. I don't believe he can actually think on his own.
I wait with interest to read ex Judge Hughes reports. This guy is a straight arrow and needs no excuses. Might get interesting down the road a bit.

"This fall has been a challenging time for each of us in the ministry..."

Perhaps for Ms. MacPhail, who was given the unenviable job of cleaning up her predecessors' mess, and for her political bosses, whose brilliant ideology drove this disaster.

But no doubt MCFD's staff is extremely relieved to finally see some attention to the fact that it's become impossible to do their jobs after the Liberals cut 1,200+ of their colleagues, chopped $150 million from their budgets and threw what was left into an endless black hole of restructuring.

Let's hope Ms. MacPhail can make a good case to Treasury Board for a whack of new budget dollars next February. Because the revelations of what went wrong at MCFD and who was hurt by it are far from over, and all the PR in the world won't cover up the mean-spiritedness and incompetence that's to blame.

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