Neglecting neglect?

In February, the ministry of children and family development predicted the rate of recurrence of child neglect and/or abuse would actually increase by 0.9 percentage points to 21 percent in fiscal 2008/09. In fact, that rate was 21.4 percent in the twelve month period leading up to December 2008. So what is Children and Family Development Minister Mary Polak going to do to address that problem?

"That's where we're working in terms of changing practice. As you know, we're in development of our new practice framework. And the very first part of that relates very closely to this figure and that is a new assessment tool. And, in talking with social workers and frontline workers just this past week, that's something they're very interested to get on with," said Minister Polak.

"There are a lot of other factors involved in it," she added. "So we look at the numbers. But we also look at practice. But that's really the biggest shift that we're in the process of making in this transformation is around practice on the front line."


MCFD like many other ministries is in a constant state of major change. I don't think the public genuinely knows how pervasive and time consuming it is for the staff. I have in the past and continue to see entire departments rendered impotent due to the constant state of flux. You can't build a career and snag a hefty mgmt salary by maintaining status quo and keeping things working smoothly - you need to grandstand and get visible. The tired and true method of doing that in government is creating churn. The executive staff at MCFD are masters at this.

IF you are constantly shifting gears and focus in addition to having to stop and replan your efforts it's almost impossible to actually accomplish anything. I've learned never to expect tangible results from people or entities that use words like 'framework', 'transformation', 'core review', 'process reevaluation' or the like.

Don't hold your breath British Columbia.

And the kids in care are always the losers

Well, well I see Mary Polak as a change agent.

The kind of change agent the statistics - not the organizational charts - can measure.


Mary's comments underscore her profound incompetence in "leading" MCFD. Like many in the upper reaches of the monolith, she quite simply has no idea what the mandate of this Ministry is really about, she has no idea why so many kids are being neglected, abused and dying and no idea how to stop all of this from happening. Also no idea that it is her own government that has caused these circumstances.

I assure anyone reading this, changing practice on the frontlines is NOT what is needed. There has been enough change and chaos created by the incompetency of the likes of Du Toit and the other yes people in Victoria. Du Toit was handpicked by Campbell to destroy MCFD, to tear it apart, limb by bloody limb and privatize the whole ugly mess. That is precisely why so many of BC's children are being harmed - they are collateral damage of the BC Liberal government and they clearly DO NOT MATTER.

Public policies that perpetuate deep poverty for the most vulnerable children and families is systemic, governmental neglect. It isn't "practice frameworks," it isn't changing practice on the lines. It is governmental and systemic negligence and the heartlessness of a neoConservative government that explains why a generation of BC's children have been raised in deep poverty & neglect. For that, Gordon Campbell and his incompetent and heartless wonks are responsible.

Mary Polak is unqualified, incapable and will in fact perhaps cause far more harm as a legacy than she is even capable of understanding, same with Du Toit and the rest of the former Ministers who nod their heads and ask high to jump, because fundamentally, none of them actually know what child welfare is about at a very core level.

Here's a dare - if Mary wants to actually learn something, she will climb out of her ivory tower and spend one month working on the frontlines, shadowing people who actually know how to do an honest days work (not just play politics). One week in urban, suburban, rural and Aboriginal offices. She might actually understand things in a small way if she did that. I'm betting Mary doesn't have what it takes to do this and see the reality, just like Du Toit, the plague of BC's kids.

The solution to improving the lot and lives of BC's children is for DM Du Toit to be removed from her position, to leave BC for good, let her be someone else's problem. In the private sector, when people fail in their jobs and fail to produce improvements they are fired. As long as MCFD & Mary Polak allow Du Toit to collect her $2000 per month living allowance on the backs of poor children, these people's opportunistic and parasitic ways will take money out of the mouth's of BC's children. THAT is neglect.

BC Liberals Suck, thank you for your contribution. W/ a handle like that, some just snicker @ you as you launch your lame, lackluster and loony attacks on the Langley Lioness of Liberty. We all know she ground down the NDP, she put health promotion into a Ministry and she is a great Churchillian leader.

We all also know the BC Liberals are the party that works for more wealth for all, not wealth redistribution for some. Chew on that!

Ms Polak has obviously taken the time to read and memorize the "party line" handed down from her predecessors - Gordon Hogg, Christy Clark, Stan Hagen and Tom Christensen - all of whom could be counted on to parrot the same excuse of endless transformation (or transition or restructuring) to try to duck responsibility for the ever-deepening failures of this Ministry.

Do the spinmasters prepping the new Minister really not get how loony it sounds to force her to just continue parroting this same tired old line after they've used it to try to cover every MCFD failure and crisis over a decade?

Dear Lord Sean !!

Is there no moderation of this comments section or are we all to be subjected to the continuing banality of Josef K ????

Mary Polak needs a spinmaster as much as an airplane needs a ton of dead weight. She can hold her own.
In fact Chris, she needs me as much as a CF-18 needs a third jet engine!

Josef K obviously works out of Mary's office. Anyone with integrity acknowledged who runs MCFD and why. Others have said it here very clearly indeed and yes, it's our children who pay the price that allows the Mary Polaks and Lesley du Toits of the world to live high off the hog on the backs of the vulnerable.

Shame on those who voted for the Campbell government. One day, he and his Marys and Lesleys will be remembered for the abuse they've perpetrated on the very individuals they were meant to protect.

Leave a comment

Copyright © 2004 - Public Eye Mediaworks. Reproductions of any portion of this Website are permitted only with the expressed permission of Public Eye Mediaworks.
Canadian Web Hosting graciously provided by dotcanuck Web Services. Layout and graphics courtesy of Art Department Design.