VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The province has been putting vulnerable kids in the hands of people and companies, and failing to adequately follow-up on the care they’re providing.
Auditor General Carol Bellringer’s report found five key areas where BC’s Ministry of Children and Family Development failed to provide sufficient oversight of contracted residential services for children and youth who were in the province’s care.
These areas include not having a province-wide strategy for residential contracts, having no understanding of supply and demand for placements, a lack of a partnership with Delegated Aboriginal Agencies for the care of Indigenous children and youth, poor quality assurance and not effective residential contract management system.
“In the end, this led to a higher risk that children and youth weren’t receiving the quality or type of services they needed because the ministry didn’t know the quality of the placements it was using,” says Bellringer.
The province has contracts with about 100 service providers, including foster homes, to provide housing, food and support for kids in care.
One example of poor care in the report was of Alex Gervais, an 18-year-old who was placed alone in an Abbotsford hotel room for 49 days before taking his own life in 2015.
Bellringer says that Indigenous children were also placed in care placements without consideration of their Indigenous culture.
The report has four recommendations:
- To define roles and responsibilities when it comes to policy development and communication,
- To understanding the limits of the contracted residential services for children and youth system, and to review its current and future needs,
- To establish a quality assurance framework, and
- To improve the management of contracts.
All of these recommendations are to be done in partnership with the Delegated Aboriginal Agencies.
The Minister of Children and Family Development has accepted the recommendations and is starting their implementation.