Wednesday, September 17, 2014


By Ray Ferris (This piece is one of a series Ray will write here.)
The Need for Good Leadership in MCFD

Another thing that all these cases have in common is that they involved people at the highest management levels in the M.C.F.D. The actions of the regional staff were fully supported up to the deputy minister level. In some instances there was repeated publicity about the case and it could not have escaped the attention of high management. The expenditure of those enormous sums on legal services could only have been authorised by senior officials in two ministries. In all these cases the stance of the director was always very adversarial. This was true, even in the cases of weak evidence. Sometimes the approach was aggressive to the point when it could have been deemed as hostile.

It seems that in the last 20 to 30 years and adversarial culture has permeated the ministry at all levels. 

The reasons for this are complex and many things have made a contribution. The erosion of knowledge and skills among protection workers has made them verectiony unsure of themselves. Every time a case gets publicity from cases of child death such as Matthew Vaudreuil or Sherry Charlie, a wave of anxiety sweeps the ministry and many cases are over-investigated and pursued without adequate evidence. In spite of huge increases in staff over this period, the service does not improve, because there is no point in hiring more people if you do not know how to train them properly. There is no clear systemic fix for this type of problem, but it needs good leadership, with a strong commitment to eliminating all these damaging delays to children. 

 Ferris retired after a career that included significant years with the MCFD. He has written a book entitled 'The Art of Child Protection.' You can order Mr. Ferris' book entitled 'the Art of Child Protection' by contacting the author directly at

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