Friday, January 8, 2010

It's not about the front-line workers - it's the policy makers and government officials

Once again when it comes time to place responsibility the blame game starts - and it's laid at teh feet of the front-line workers.

In the tragic story yet to be told of what happened to Edward Redhead a few facts are known. He was 11 years-young, was a ward of the Awassis Child and Family Services, and was alone in a house his grandparents had locked up and left for empty, and it took two-days before anyone noticed he was missing.

Questions are being asked and rightly so. But I am amazed at the new lows that the government would sink to shirk responsibility.

In the Winnipeg Free Press, Bruce Owen writes that ..

”...the Opposition Progressive Conservative Family Services critic Bonnie Mitchelson said any review has to look at "devolution" -- how the NDP government handled turning over child-welfare responsibilities to native-run agencies several years ago.
"It was rushed ahead without the proper training, without the proper protocols, without ensuring that people that were working in the system were trained and had the ability to put the safety of children first," she said.””

But worse the Minister Mackintosh replies:

"...If there were shortcomings by a child-welfare worker or a foster parent for example, or a guardian, that has yet to be determined," he said. "We should not jump to conclusions at this point that there were was [sic}a lack of adherence to standards in the child-welfare system...”

How about admitting the system is inadequate and that it was never funded to be effective but was transferred as part of devolution because it was cheaper and the government wouldn’t have to take responsibility in the event of a tragedy.



Anonymous said...

I have a friend in the CFS industry in Manitoba. I used to visit her from out of province, and recall the summer of what, 2002? she was talking about the separation into multiple CFS units, and she was heartsick that because of so many new agencies, lots and lot of under-qualified people were going to be getting life and death kinds of jobs. I can't say it was money they were lacking, it was the speed so that the supply of well-qualified workers could not be taught/imported/gain experience fast enough to keep up with the province wide change. It's 8 years later, and many agencies were built with underqualified foundations, and so the problem still exists.

Wideye said...

You are so right Anon. I was with another "experiential" CFS product when the announcement was made. A government official came up to me all broad smiles and wanted to shake my hand and 'congratulate' me. I asked that he tell me how capacity would be built and individuals trained in administrative and program delivery if no new money was identified.

He said "Money saved from the reduction of children coming into care will off-set the cost of training."

So I asked him how he expected the number of children being taken into care to be reduced if the people and the agencies had no funds to build strong foundations, frameworks, policies ,and evaluation mechanisms, or ability to train the people required to administrate and deliver the program. He looked at me like I was some crazy bitch and without another word gave me his back and walked away. I kid you not.

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