Ray Ferris is a frequent commentator and occasional post writer here. Ray is the author of 'The Art of Child Protection'.
UNFIT FOR PURPOSE
In Britain child protection legislation is national, but the execution of the work is delegated to local authorities, such as cities and towns, or county councils. Local authorities set up child welfare services, but are subject to accountability to the national government. The U.K. gets its fair share of child protection horror stories, but there does seem to be a difference about how they are handled. Also it is much more possible to have an efficient service in one municipality and a terrible one in the next.
Following the death in two different municipalities of children, in which the social workers repeatedly ignored compelling evidence, a judicial inquiry took place. The Haringey authority and another one were declared to be “unfit for purpose.” That has a nice ring to it and would apply here in B.C., specially with regard to Ayn Van Dyk’s case don’t you think?
There was another death from abuse and neglect in the northern city of Bradford, and the social workers had once more shut their eyes to all the obvious evidence. The City of Bradford investigated and found the social workers not to be at fault. They accused the critics of simply indulging in social worker bashing. The national minister for children and families did his own inquiry and came to a completely different conclusion. He declared the City investigation to have been a whitewash and said in no uncertain terms that the authority and the city were not fit to bear the child welfare responsibilities.
I think another big difference between Canada and Britain is that the British press don’t let go of these stories, but keep them in the public eye and that certainly keeps the politicians on their toes.
Another thought. Turpel-Lafond,, (B.C.’s representative for children and youth) says the BC government wasted sixty six million dollars without result on aboriginal matters. This displayed utter incompetence. These are the same people who run protection services. Why would anyone think that they do a really good job in the rest of the service? Dumb people at the top are still dumb people at the top regardless of the hats they are wearing on a given day.
Ray speaks and writes from a vast experience of 31 years in public service in general public welfare and child welfare, child protection, as a social worker, district supervisor, work among aboriginal peoples, long term foster care supervisor, family court coordinator, director of alcohol and drug counselling. He is a decided critic of aspects of MCFD policy as exemplified by the manner in which the Bayne family were treated these past four years. He has written today's piece.