The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia has released his decision on the matter of the internal MCFD review directed by Robert Plecas. Chief Justice Hinkson found that Mr. Plecas had his status changed by government to that of a statutory reviewer under the CFCS Act on Aug. 10, 2015 when he was appointed a “Director” under the legislation, and as a result, his work is not open to judicial review.
The purpose of the Representative for Children and Youth’s (RCY) reviews and investigations of child deaths and critical injuries is to identify and thoughtfully analyze issues - particularly in service delivery. The intent is to help prevent similar deaths or injuries in the future and to inform improvements to services.
This reportreveals a dramatic mismatch between expectations placed on child protection social workers and the number of staff province-wide available to do the work. Despite the demands and complexity of the job increasing in recent years, there are fewer front-line child protection workers in B.C. in 2015 than there were in 2002.
On this Sept. 9, as we mark Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day, it is my sincere hope that British Columbians will take the time to stop and reflect. The date is significant. The ninth day of the ninth month of the year was chosen as international FASD Awareness Day to represent the critical nine months of pregnancy – the time when a mother must abstain from alcohol to protect her unborn baby.
The fact is that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can seriously harm an unborn child and create a lifelong disability. But as devastating as FASD is, it is also entirely preventable.
The provincial government announced today that it has hired an external contractor to review “matters arising from Judge Walker’s recent B.C. Supreme Court ruling.” Because this sort of contracted review is in my experience unprecedented, and to avoid public confusion given government’s use of the term “independent”, I wish to make it clear that the contracted process announced today is not one that is contemplated either by the Child, Family and Community Service Act(CFCS Act) or the Representative for Children and Youth Act (RCY Act).
This report summarizes the discussions that took place with provincial and Aboriginal leadership at A Forum for Change: Reconciliation for Today’s First Nations, Metis & Aboriginal Children Through Custom Adoption and Lifelong Family and Tribal Connections, held in Nanaimo in April. It also looks ahead to a fall Forum and building an action plan with real steps towards permanency in the lives of First Nations, Metis and Aboriginal children in government care.