Province looking to strengthen child intervention system

By MorinvilleNews.com Staff

Edmonton – The Government of Alberta announced Friday that it had accepted 10 recommendations by a panel of specialists from across the country who were asked to examine Alberta’s child intervention system and to bring forward leading practices and ways the system could be strengthened to support at-risk children, youth and families.

Minister of Children and Youth Services Yvonne Fritz said Aboriginal children make up 64 per cent of children in care and that the province must take immediate steps to strengthen services for Aboriginal children, youth and their families as the province implements improvements to the overall system.

Based on the specialist’s findings, the province said improvements to the child intervention system will include:

  • Creating a senior Aboriginal leadership position at the Assistant Deputy Minister level to bring an Aboriginal perspective to child intervention policy and practice.
  • Increasing input from the Aboriginal community in the development and delivery of culturally appropriate services, and building the capacity of Aboriginal-led service providers,/li>
  • Clarifying roles and responsibilities for Aboriginal service delivery between provincial, federal, and First Nations partners
  • Establishing a Child and Family Service Quality Council to provide external oversight of the child intervention system and publicly report on findings related to systemic matters
  • Ensuring more consistent evaluation of service quality across the province.
  • Continuing implementation of an outcomes-based performance management system
  • Improving coordination between government ministries and service providers.
  • Better supporting staff in implementing system improvements.

“As we move forward, changes will be made using a thoughtful, planned and measured approach,” Fritz said in a release Friday. “We will continue to engage our stakeholders and Aboriginal community to ensure we are taking the right steps, at the right time, to provide better outcomes for our vulnerable children and youth, and their families.”

The death of a 21-month-old Morinville foster child and subsequent second-degree murder charge of the child’s 34-year-old foster mother brought heavy criticism on the minister and the system she oversees.

In August, the province allocated an additional f $72 million for Children and Youth Services, including $40 million for child intervention services.

The complete report and recommendations, and the government’s response, are available at www.child.alberta.ca/cisreview

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