What a difference a month makes

Back in November, watchdog Mary Ellen-Turpel Lafond criticized bureaucrats for obstructing her attempts to monitor the ministry of children and family development. But, just one month earlier, meeting minutes obtained by Public Eye via a freedom of information request describe a dramatically different relationship between Ms. Turpel-Lafond and the ministry's top bureaucrat Lesley du Toit. According to those minutes, which were taken during a children and family development leadership team meeting, the representative told senior civil servants "there is a strong relationship with DM in sharing information and completing protocols." Moreover, the minutes state the children and youth representative's office "doesn't see themselves as monitoring the ministry, but working in collaboration."

But, following that meeting, Ms. Turpel-Lafond issued a report stating the ministry had "not yet implemented" many of the recommendations made by Ted Hughes in his independent review of British Columbia's child protection system. And, according to that report, "although a collaborative process - including a joint reporting approach - was initiated" to monitor implementation of those recommendations "there was only modest success in engaging MCFD." In fact, "few supporting documents were provided by MCFD" when Ms. Turpel-Lafond's office requested additional information about Ms. du Toit's plans to reform the ministry. The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned minutes.

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LEADERSHIP TEAM MEETING

October 10th, 2007
4th floor Boardroom
765 Brouhgton Street
Victoria, BC

Strictly Confidential

MINUTES

Attendees: Lesley Du Toit, Alan Markwart, Pat Doyle, Barb Wright, Bev Dicks, Karen Dellert, Deb Foxcroft, Stan Williams, Peter Cunningham, Marilyn Hedlund, Les Boon, Doug Hughes, Craig Wilkinson on behalf of Sarf Ahmed, Chuck Earner, Mark Sieben, Jennifer Erickson, Pat Doyle, Victoria Robson

Absent: Sarf Ahmed

October 10, 2007

1. Child and Youth Representative (CYR) - Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, John Greshner and Andrew Robinson and the Leadership Team introduced themselves to each other and described their respective roles. Lesley welcomed the Child and Youth Representative Office to contact the Leadership Team directly.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond hopes more discussions can continue and stressed that any value that the RCY can bring be ground in collaboration with this and other ministries. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond feels there is a strong relationship with DM in sharing information and completing protocols. She noted that unprecedented work is being done in ministry compared to anywhere in Canada and asked that the Leadership team thinks about their position in direct services and new directions, and how to best to engage with RCY. RCY doesn't see themselves as monitoring the ministry, but working in collaboration.

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