MS. POLAK AND WHAT TO DO
It doesn’t please me to state my impression that the Ministry of Children and Family Development is providing ongoing evidence of its dysfunctional bureaucracy. That observation will be an untenable statement to Ministry chief Honourable Mary Polak who wants to make a difference in this ministry post which she requested. She has served for less than one year. As I myself process heart wrenching stories, I am not assuming that she yet understands all that her ministry is doing that disrupts families and makes people angry. I do assume that she has good friends and associates within the Ministry and is protective of them and their reputations. I don’t assume that she would condone the damage that some Ministry decisions and attitudes have caused to children and parents. She must take seriously some of the criticisms of the Ministry that she hears regularly. She cannot possibly read all of the case files that regional offices handled this year but she should demand the file for the Baynes and read what her ministry has done with this one.
Ms. Polak should find similarly disturbing as we do that previous official inquiries and their resultant recommendations to reform the Ministry have failed to correct the fault marks. There is a primary reason for this.
Ms. Polak and her Victoria team can be sincerely motivated, passionately initiate all kinds of new protection and developmental programs yet the overall performance review for MCFD may be abysmal, at least to the public. Many people conclude that MCFD is programmed to prioritize child protection at the expense of families. The corporate heart of Ministry of Children and Family Development must grow to be large enough to embrace the parents of the families that seizures fracture and to excel at finding ways to keep those families intact. I don’t see or read that concentration presently. One of the predictable factors for providing quality Ministry service is the local supervisor and/or Director. If the Ministry wants consistently excellent service from the hundreds of regional offices, the placement of senior management is critical. The supervisor must accept the major responsibility for disorder or bad case work in his/her region. I am confident that there are many competent and dedicated front line social workers. After all, bad social workers are effortlessly identified and managed by proficient supervisors. The challenge comes when trying to address incompetent senior management. Victoria does not appear to be doing that. The supervisor has considerably more security in a position than does a parent seeking to preserve a family. Weak senior administration repeats previous mistakes and if the Ministry is to be transformed the weakness must be removed.
'Sky Tulips' by Christine Verge