Take heart Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond! You're not the only government watchdog whose suggestions have been sidelined by the ministry of children and family development. Last week, the ministry's political boss Mary Polak rejected Ms. Turpel-Lafond's recommendation to re-screen the adults caring for kids placed in the government's children in the home of a relative program. This, after the representative found some of those adults had criminal records or previous child protection concerns. But that's not the only instance of the ministry not acting on a recommendation from an independent legislative officer.
For example, in May 2008, the province's auditor general John Doyle released a report on the management of aboriginal child protection services in British Columbia. In that report, Mr. Doyle made 10 recommendations.
Among them: having the ministry provide MLAs and the public with information "on the cost, successes and challenges" of those services, as well as developing measures - in consultation with First Nations - to determine whether an aboriginal child's needs are being met.
But, as of January 2010, those measures were nowhere to be seen. Instead, according to an update submitted to the auditor general's office, the ministry was taking "alternative action" that included supporting First Nations and aboriginal organizations in developing their own performance measures.
Nor are MLAs and the public any better informed on the costs and challenges confronting aboriginal child protection services even though the ministry claims they are. For example, before the auditor general released his report, the ministry's service plan had two performance measures relating to those services. Now, it only has one.
This, despite the fact Mr. Doyle stated the ministry "was not providing adequate accountability information about the impact services are having on the children" - an experience Ms. Turpel-Lafond is, by now, all too familiar with.