Four more years?

Those who have been following the ministry of children and family development's travails will know it's been four years since Lesley du Toit was named its deputy. This, following the release of former conflict of interest commissioner Ted Hughes's independent review of the province's child protection system. So what's changed since then? Well, not much for the ministry's clients. After all, in an email distributed to employees yesterday, Ms. du Toit stated "our current service system is not working" for many of British Columbia's children, youth and families. Nevertheless, the deputy states the groundwork has now been laid for "broader changes" to that system after working on "many pockets of incremental change." The following is a complete copy of that email, which provides an update on Ms. du Toit's efforts to transform the ministry.

From: Gabitous, Jason MCF:EX
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2010 4:46 PM
Subject: Message from the Deputy Minister

Dear Colleagues:

A great deal has happened in the last eight months and I am pleased to provide an update before you head out for a summer break. This will be a lengthy letter with a number of links to documents or additional information, so please bear with me.

Before I launch into the update, I want to express my deepest appreciation to the many people inside and outside of the ministry in various roles and organizations for their significant participation in -- and contribution to -- transformation work in these last twelve months. It has been encouraging that people across the service system have tackled the new work and challenges with enthusiasm, solid knowledge and skill, critical minds, hard work, and a huge amount of patience. It is very exciting to see steady, incremental change and to hear about the involvement of so many people. We continue to have excellent work to build on, so thank you to those who, over the past few years, have willingly moved in new directions and have laid the groundwork for broader changes. While we still have a ways to go, we have now shifted from many pockets of incremental change, to building and doing on a much wider level - and that's an exciting place to be. Change will continue to be incremental in order to always ensure the effectiveness and confidence of those who work with children and families.

I do want to be clear that we will move forward with these changes with courageous, deliberate and thoughtful actions. BC's children, youth and families are our priority, and our current service system is not working for many of them. Making these changes is not optional. Our professional role is to strive to be effective every day. We will continue to rectify barriers and strengthen existing good practices to achieve the best possible outcomes for BC's children and families on an ongoing basis.

Thank you for striving to make a difference each day. I listen to youth, practitioners, managers, Elders, Chiefs, families, and community organizations and have heard many encouraging stories of positive impacts on individuals and communities.

Thank you also to all who have written to me with encouraging comments, questions, criticisms and advice. Your input has been very helpful and I appreciate the time you take to contact me. Please do feel welcome to continue to send in your questions and comments to my office:

Orientation to Child and Family Support, Assessment, Planning and Practice (CAPP):

Earlier in the year, we began rolling out Child and Family Support, Assessment, Planning and Practice (CAPP) Orientation, starting with the initial implementation sites, which include ministry and community organizations. It was a great opportunity for me to talk to hundreds of you and I appreciate the critical evaluations and the great participation. The orientations will continue until the majority of people in the child and family development system have had an opportunity to participate. The document that supports the orientations and provides greater depth is the draft CAPP Description and Discussion Paper , currently available on the ministry web site. We will post the final version in the Fall.

As you know, we have five CAPP initial implementation sites, one in each region. I am pleased to share with you a brief profile of those five sites.

CAPP Training:

Training is well underway for ministry and community organization staff who will be part of initial implementation. Training modules include (1) Research and Systems Outcomes; (2) CAPP Foundation: Resilience; (3) CAPP Foundation: Child and Family Support; and (4) Assessment and Planning. Other modules will be added in 2011. Training in the first three modules is nearing completion. The next module -- Assessment and Planning -- will be delivered in October of this year. As with Orientation, the CAPP training modules will roll out more broadly across the child and family development system over the next 18 months or more. Training materials will be provided to participants so that the teaching and experiential training components are directly connected to the materials. Attached for your information is a summary of the feedback from the training sessions delivered to date. As part of our commitment to continuous improvement, this valuable feedback from training participants will be used to build on and improve CAPP training. I want to thank the 65 people who have participated in the training for sharing their knowledge and skill with each other and me, and engaging in the learning with real commitment. It has been a great experience and I look forward to continuing this work in October!

Reading materials for the training are now available through a partnership with the Health and Human Services Library. Thank you to the participant who made this great suggestion. Ministry staff can access articles and request books directly from the Strong, Safe and Supported References webpage. Community partners interested in accessing this research can email

Transformation Products Map:

Through the tireless efforts of many, work has been progressing on development of the products indentified in the Strong, Safe and Supported Transformation Products Map. An updated, interactive version of the map is available on the ministry website, where you will find a brief description of each component, along with links to completed products. Thank you to the Transformation team, for turning this into a very helpful information tool!

I am also pleased to provide an initial Question and Answer document, which we will expand on in the future.

Aboriginal Services and Change:

A few months ago, we posted the Aboriginal Service Delivery Change: A Conceptual Framework for Ministry Staff and I hope this document is now widely read and understood as our internal "compass." As one of our top priorities, this work is now going forward in leaps and bounds. Thank you to all those both inside and outside the ministry who are passionately moving this agenda along.
In keeping with the principle of self-determination and our commitment to First Nations taking back jurisdiction over their children and families and the services provided to them, we have simply played a supporting and/or partnership role in moving the work along and remain deeply committed to continuing this at the invitation of First Nations. The work completed to date by many First Nations and their communities, as well as Delegated Agencies and urban organizations, is a real tribute to all involved and a testament to their deep commitment to the well-being of their children. There are many issues and very real needs to address. It will take all of our efforts, as well as conscious and deliberate action, to increasingly close the existing social and economic gap.

In addition, the First Nations Leadership Council and MCFD continue to work together within the Recognition and Reconciliation Protocol on First Nations Children, Youth and Families. This Protocol is in support of the establishment of a political relationship and dialogue process focused on the best interests of First Nations children and families.

I also want to pay tribute to the Métis Nation, the Métis Commission and ministry staff who have worked tirelessly to develop a strong collective agenda for Métis children and families. It will be very exciting to see the fruits of these efforts increasingly become evident in terms of outcomes for children, families and communities.

As many are interested in these developments, an additional message and more details of the First Nations work will be posted in the next few weeks. Where First Nations, Métis or Agencies are leading and directing work, permission will be asked to provide this information. Alternatively you will be encouraged to contact First Nations themselves to ask about their work. In the meantime, the product map points to some of the continued or completed activities and outcomes.

Integrated Case Management System:

During the last few months, staff representatives have participated in workshops to help design and prepare for implementation of the new system, which is moving forward using a phased approach.

Set to go live this winter, Phase 1 will involve a small number of staff and provide us with the opportunity to learn how to effectively implement this new integrated system across the full range of our programs and services. Eleven sites and approximately 200 users have been identified as Phase 1 participants: Abbotsford, Delta (Fraser Region); Vancouver, Richmond (Vancouver Coastal Region); Penticton, Kelowna (Interior Region); Nanaimo, Port Hardy, Courtenay (Vancouver Island Region); Dawson Creek, Fort Nelson (North Region); Integrated Quality Assurance (Provincial Office). Staff involved in Phase 1 have recently completed a change readiness survey. The results of this initial survey and future surveys will inform the development of change management and training activities. To support regional leaders involved in Phase 1, Leadership Action Plans are being developed to identify actions, activities and roles that assist in building and sustaining change. The ICM team has also completed a stakeholder analysis, which will inform change management activities with our external partners.

If you have any questions about the updates I have provided above, please feel free to contact a member of your leadership team.

Thank you, as always, for all that you do for children, families and communities. Thank you, too, for your continued commitment to the transformation of the child and family development system. To all of our community partners, thank you for hanging in there with us during tough times. We are committed to the partnerships we have established and I look forward to meeting with MCFD staff and our community partners on a continuous basis as we head into the Fall.

Do take care and have a wonderful, restful summer with family and friends. For those who will work through the summer so that others can take a break, thank you.

Kind regards,

Deputy Minister


I've never in my life seen a person more out of touch, nor use so many words to say absolutely nothing. She is out of touch because if she thinks real workers (not all of her annointed incompetent managers and exponentially increasing senior bureaucraps) in this Ministry have time to read this nonsense and BS I have a swamp for sale in Spuzzum. But, being in touch with reality isn't exactly Du Toit's forte most know by this point.

CAPP is a perfect example of this. It's taken 4 years to get to this point. 4 years of monthly "living allowances" for Du Toit on top of an unearned salary. She sits in her ivory tower in Victoria while more and more kids and families hurt and this whole thing is a scheme to take the protection out of _child protection_. Nothing more, nothing less. Workers in the Ministry already have the tools to work well with families. What they don't have are the time and the bodies (FTE's) and it makes it difficult to build competency on the frontlines because of the turnover. If any business lost the numbers of employees MCFD does in a year it would be dead in the water. This is something Du Toit has ignored since she plagued BC with her presence. Call any local MCFD office right now and ask how many caseloads of at-risk children don't have workers on them. Well, I guess if you succeed in taking the _risk_ out of the formula then that answer will be zero if Du Toit gets her way. Good luck with that safety kids.

I absolutely agree with the previous comment - so many words that say nothing. I work in an agency that as been subject to cuts by MCFD. When I read correspondence from Lesley du Toit, I am always amazed that someone can produce such a huge number of ambiguous documents and get paid such big bucks.

While Lesley believes that all is well, the social workers that don't leave the employ of MCFD struggle with huge and complex caseloads.

The joke in the sector is that Lesley du Toit must have some 'compelling' pictures that she uses to blackmail Gordon Campbell. What other reason could there be for her continued presence while producing nothing but bafflegab documents in a system that could benefit from just a little leadership.

She is there because Gordo put her there. She remains in place because Gordo never makes mistakes, just ask him.His arrogance keeps her there and kids suffer.

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