Disrespecting the authority

Children and Family Development Minister Stan Hagen has been the source of much hot and bother amongst some community living advocates this week. The reason: on Monday, his ministry quietly announced Community Living British Columbia will continue providing services for all special needs children. Under an earlier memorandum of understanding, those services had been temporarily transferred to the authority. But they were supposed to be handed back to the ministry in July - something that now won't be happening. Letters of protest have been sent to Minister Hagen, arguing that the decision goes against the Gove inquiry's recommendation "to bring all provincial child welfare responsibilities together into one provincial authority" - rather than a "fragmented" approach relying on inter-ministerial cooperation. And there seems to be concern about whether Community Living British Columbia is capable of delivering those services on a long-term basis - which might explain why the independent authority will soon be launching a branding campaign to increase "respect for and confidence in CLBC."

12 Comments

...once again, the high-paid flacks are given the real work to do over in Victoria -- i.e. to brush over ongoing harm to innocent children, adults and families by Mr Campbell's agenda of "unmanageable change" and deep cuts, while his Minister pretends to respond to Mr Hughes recommendations.

After diverting tens of millions from actual services to endless restruturing during 3 years as a trasitional agency and 10 months as a devolved provincial agency, CLBC still hasn't figured out how to make Doug Walls' screwball model work without causing further grave harm (or at least further grave harm that the public will ever hear about). The latest plan is to close professionally-staffed group homes to cut costs, farming out adults with complex needs to informal foster arrangements with untrained, unsupervised "family model" caretakers. (Sounds frighteningly similar to the Kith & Kin fiasco, huh, except the flacks will say it's more "person-centred"). And CLBC's going a step further, eliminating social workers' responsibility for case management and ongoing monitoring. So it will be "See no evil, hear no evil!"

Knowing all this and the risks involved, Minister Hagen figures everyone's too busy with the Hughes report to notice his backdoor move to dump kids with special needs out into this mess. Whew! One less group to catch the eyes of Hughes' proposed new Ministry watchdogs.

Internal and external experts warned that A) dumping some kids'services on CLBC would deepen fragmentation and weaken effectiveness and B) that handing over any kids' services before CLBC was fully operational and proven viable would pose significant risks.

But hey, they've got bigger things to worry about in Victoria. And why worry if you can simply fire the advocates or park the kids beyond their reach and hire more flacks to sing your praises!

If you yhink that this is an issue wait till next tuesday when mcfd announces that Leslie DeToit is the new Deputy Minister. She has signed on for 4 years and will be moving to Victoria. Let the games begin.

Please elaborate on what the "games" might be and how she might respond to the Hughes report.

Well, how well will the bureaucracy accept an outsider? Who will she report to,the premier or the minister? Who will they pick to be the SDM to deal with child protection? What sort of a ride will she get from the local media? And if things do not go smoothly, how long will she sign in. I certainly can see the merit of Leslie as a solid consultant but the role of deputy puts her in the spotlight in an incredibly politicized system. I wish her luck but I think it may be less than a smooth ride for her and for mcfd.

If you're right, Fogg, I expect that will resolve any lingering doubts about who's really running the show at MCFD. And if there's any illusions that You-know-who has learned anything from the results of his disastrous devolution agenda, consider that 4 of the 24 provincial nominees for the 2005/06 Premier's Innovation & Excellence Awards in the category of Innovation were picked from CLBC's upper ranks.

This definition of innovation suggests a premium on accomplishing downloading, regardless of how badly it's bungled and whether it ends up producing any actual benefits for those whom the system is supposed to serve.

Expect the answer to bungled devolution to simply be more devolution.

Any idea how this NEW DEPUTY FROM SOUTH AFRICA who, according to rumours, has her own plan for mcfd, will deal with the Hughes report? In other words, will her plan be shelved or will that of Hughes or will they intersect or ......?

Big questions, likely no answers but I'd welcome the views of Hogg and the amazing Dawn Steele, who more often than not tells it as it is.

I understand that du Toit is recognized for her work in South Africa but British Columbia is not South Africa. I don't see how this is going to work.

Good comments Dawn and good questions Anon. I think that we will know fairly quickly what the plan is. And I suspect that new standards may be at the heart of the changes.

Thanks Fogg but what about Regionalization/First Nations Authorities?? What are your thoughts??

In the end, I think all of us who have been trying to do our work over the past months within a culture of secrecy are very on edge.

Expect regionalization of aboriginal services to be a slow process and not likely to be an immediate priority for Ms DeToit. It is a lot to ask a new deputy let alone a novice to bc politics to take on as sensitive an issue as aboriginal governance

fogg, Deputies don't report to Ministers, they report to the Premier's Deputy, the Head of the Public Service, currently Jessica McDonald. There's nothing new about that, that's been the structure for a long time.

The mission is regional governance of child welfare, 10 regional authorities, 5 Aboriginal and 5 non-Aboriginal. It's going to be very, very expensive and there's huge questions about capacity.

Fogg and NotFooled

Then, if not Authorities what would be the priority of Ms du Toit in your views?

There are some glaring items that pop out of this stream of comments.....

1) Stan Hagen is so out of touch with what is happening in his Ministry, that it boggles the mind to think that after his obfuscation and subterfuge for so long, that he actually believes what he says when he tells us that the Hughes Report will be followed in its entirety.

2) That Gordo is actually so vacant of mind when appointing Hagen to Minister, that all that was needed was the hoovering that got Hagen the job (he actually called the Preem and asked for the job--after exhibiting a total lack of understanding of fish farms and associated problematic issues).

3) That Gordo understands even less about the conflict having his roving consultant du Toit appointed DM. Beyond stupid.

4) That no one is in control in the crowsnest of the Preem's ship! In the old days, in Socred or NDP govt's there was always someone of sober second thought, even third thought. This particular Premier is surrounded by the fuzzified craniums of yesteryear who do not have one fresh idea amoung them and are set to ride this Premier into a loss in the next election. Including some of the younger advisors, Gordo is surrounded by not one innovative thinker as strategist. Just tacticians, who need to have strategy spoonfed to them, or else......

Action items for Gordo:

a) Fire Hagen and do not give him another Ministry. Hogg's actions were considerably less serious and he got the axe--ridiculous.

b) Forget about Leslie as DM. Huge PR blunder.

c) Forget the Marcia Smith's of the world and go get yourself some bona fide strategists with brains and political brawn--your next fight against the NDP will be brutal. You are surrounded by tacticians whose ideas are dated and almost didn't work last go around--very bad. Stop allowing the suck ups the front row. Marc Jiles is a nice enough guy, but other than looking good, not much going on upstairs.

Fix your problems Mr. Preem, otherwise it will end the way it started, with a loss that shouldn't happen.

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