Get out your rulers

In his authoritative British Columbia Children and Youth Review, former conflict of interest commissioner Ted Hughes noted past ministry of children and family development service plans "have contained too few" performance measures. Those measures, a hallmark of the Campbell administration, are used as "indicators of the government's progress in achieving its goals" - in this case ensuring "child safety and child wellbeing."

So it seems somewhat strange the ministry would remove a timeline for regionalizing aboriginal and non-aboriginal children and family development services from its latest service plan. The fiscal 2008/09 and 2009/10 targets for increasing the number of aboriginal children in aboriginal care has also been discarded. And the report doesn't record the "average annual number of days between entry into care and placement," "the proportion of children in foster care and 'kith and kin' placements who are 'very satisfied' with their placements" or any number of performance measures the Hughes review suggested will be needed "in the coming years."

Asked why those new measures weren't in the plan, Children and Family Development Minister Tom Christensen said, "We are in the midst of a process of transformation - a process that will put in place a framework to enhance the delivery of services to the children, families and communities we serve. It is through this process that we will be able to re-visit our targets and ensure those measureables are the correct ones. To establish new targets in advance of creating that framework would make no sense."

But why does the ministry no longer have a timeline for establishing regional authorities? "We are in the process of building a structure to support families and communities," responded Minister Christensen. "This is a grassroots process - one that will take time - and one that will be done properly. However, we will not force the process by putting a time frame in place."



So it sounds as though the minister has taken his cue from the premier himself.

Announce something like a dramatic green plan that aims to cut GH gases by more than a third, turn your weasels loose to troll for positive reviews and then get your finance minister to smile and sweetly inform the climate panicked peasants that, no, in fact the province simply can't afford to tackle the most pressing issue ever, at least this year because if they did, well then there would be no tax bribe, er cut for us.

So I can take the money and buy myself a stinking big SUV to drive around the city because the finance minister has once again exempted those oh, so important urban gas hogs from luxury taxes.

Sorry I got carried away here, but it seems one issue just runs into another with these guys.

Blah, blah, blah....transformation...blah, blah, blah...process...blah, blah, blah...process...blah, blah, blah...process.

Without endorsing everything Christensen has said, I have heard feedback that some Aboriginal agencies who were starting to do family services work weren't fully prepared. The result has been some return of services to the provincial ministry.

From Judge Hughes:

'The strongest impression I have gleaned from this inquiry is one of a child welfare system that has been buffeted by an unmanageable degree of change. There has been a revolving door in senior leadership positions; emphasis in practice has shifted between child protection and family support; functions have been sifted out to the regions and then pulled back to centre.......'

'In the 10 years since 1995, the Ministry has been led by no fewer than nine ministers, eight deputy minister, and seven directors with lead responsibility in child protection. This turnover has taken a toll in terms of staff morale and the Ministry's ability to set directions, frame goals and make progress. The revolving door has got to stop.'

He goes on to recommend that senior leadership be appointed for no less a term than 4 years and preferably 5 years.

My question to the Minister is this:

Now that ADMs have been appointed, what are their responsibilities? As just one example, MCFD lost two very able and experienced REDs from the Regions when they were moved to Victoria to work as ADMs but we know nothing about their job descriptions and it appears that they have been sidelined. Were they moved for that purpose and if so, why?

A supplementary question to the Minister: when will the new ADM Human Resources put to rest the massive insecurity being felt by staff across the province about job security?

Hear!!! Hear!!! thump thump thump thump thump!!!

I believe that TL is referring to the new COO who, previous to her appointment, was a RED. There was only one ADM transferred to Victoria from the Regions but if either of them are not valued in Victoria we could definitely use their Management and Leadership skills back here and we would welcome the switch!

thump thump thump thump thum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So let us review the facts.

Given that children are a society's future and that they are also it's most vunerable members, their protection should be the number one priority of the Government.

The Government acknowledges, albeit obliquely, that the Government is not doing an adequate job and as such, commissions a report.

The Report is addressed to the Minister of MFCD to implement.

The Minister of MCFD indicates that it is not his Ministry but the Attorney General's responsibility to implement the Report's recommendations.

The Minister of MCFD then indicates that his Ministry is not implementing the Report including a key recommendation that MCFD should develop key performance indicators.

So is this to be the end of it?

The Minister of MCFD and his Ministry are allowed to ignore the Report's recommendations with impunity?

Shame on you Premier Campbell if you allow this state of affairs to continue.

What kind of leadership is that!

And then, of course, there are the things that Mr. Hughes did not say.

Things such as, "If at first you screw things up, screw them up again (and again, and again, and again)".


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