Fraser Valley – Over the past few months, there have been a number of serious cases involving teens and children in the Ministry of Children and Family Development who have been housed in hotels as they draw near to “aging out” of the system.
The most controversial was the suicide death of an Abbotsford teen this past summer.
A provincial review of the policy was announced Monday in Victoria. Their media release states:
The Ministry of Children and Family Development and the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth have initiated a joint review of the use of hotels to house children who are in the care of the Province, Minister Stephanie Cadieux and representative Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond announced today.
The review will examine the historical and current usage of hotels as placements for children in care, including the demographics of those children, the reasons behind the use of hotels as placements and the potential risks to children in care associated with hotel stays. Most importantly, it will make recommendations regarding new policy and practice on hotel placements going forward.
The joint report is consistent with the approach suggested in the 2006 Hughes Review of B.C.’s child welfare system, when former justice Ted Hughes recommended, “the representative to take part in the development of policies or practices that reflect a deeper understanding of the needs and interests of children, youth and their families.”
The joint review will incorporate all relevant data on the subject available to MCFD, its Delegated Aboriginal Agencies and the Office of the Representative. It will include a review of relevant literature, comparisons with policy and practice in other jurisdictions, consultation with subject-matter experts and interviews with MCFD and DAA front-line staff, supervisors, contracted service providers and others.
The final report will be presented to the Legislature and released publicly before the end of this year.
Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux –
“Our aim is to place children and youth in foster homes and residential resources that match their needs and minimize the possibility of further moves. Together with the RCY, we are taking a close look at policy and practice to ensure that when young people come into government care we can provide them with safe, secure, appropriate living arrangements while we work to connect (or re-connect) them with a permanent, loving home.”
Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond –
“I want to support MCFD to reduce and eliminate the use of hotels as placements, even in emergency situations. As always, our role is to help the ministry to meet its mandate and ensure that children receive services that are appropriate rather than crisis-driven or stop-gap measures. While this review will not be incident-specific, individual cases that are part of it may call out for more detailed investigation by my office, should there be situations in which children have been adversely affected by hotel placements.”