Home Government of BC Ministry of Children & Family Development Ministry workers have child-removal as only ‘tool’

Ministry workers have child-removal as only ‘tool’

BC Greens asking for more ways to support children & families

adam olsen, bc greens
BC Green House Leader Adam Olsen, Nov 21, 2023. [Hansard]

Tuesday November 21, 2023 | VICTORIA, BC [Updated 9 pm]

by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. | Island Social Trends

If there is an allegation that a child’s safety is at risk in a home, a worker from within the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) can remove the child from the home.

Allegations can be made by anyone, and can possibly be anonymous.

When a child is removed from a home — especially under such circumstances that might be sudden and traumatic — there is a lasting impact on the child and also the family.

adrian dix, health minister
Health Minister Adrian Dix, Nov 21, 2023. [Hansard]

Today Green Party House Leader Adam Olsen asked in the Legislative Assembly today for there to be more ‘tools’ than just removal of a child. He also said there should be more regulation for MCFD workers who undertake this work — noting that they are not necessarily trained social workers and as such would not belong to a professional college.

Health Minister Adrian Dix in the House today replied that the highest standards are being followed by government, including by MCFD and the Minister of MCFD, Mitzi Dean. Dean is presently out of town.

Olsen further spoke about how much a foster family receives to care for one child, saying that’s $135,000 per year. He articulated that usually the reason for distress in a family (to the degree that a child would be removed) is as a result of poverty. Addressing the poverty would be better for the child and the family, compared to the trauma of removing a child from their home.

Sometimes housing insufficiency also stems from poverty. The current government has this fall released a suite of legislation toward increasing the supply housing in BC.

view royal, town hall meeting

This sort of situation requires a whole of government approach. The NDP government does have a Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction with Sheila Malcolmson, Minister. Her ministry addresses a range of components that attempt to address poverty, including income assistance, food security supports, accessibility and disability, single parenting, and work-search support.

Island Social Trends is awaiting a response from MCFD as to these issues (more to come).

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