Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

NDP: Liberals fail children with special needs

The B.C. NDP has blasted the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD), citing yesterday's report from the Representative for Children and Youth that found serious shortcomings in the province's provision of services to children with special needs.

"What we're seeing here are social workers who clearly have huge caseloads and a lack of real direction on how the ministry should work," said MLA. Claire Trevena, Opposition critic for the MCFD. "These are problems specific to the ministry over the last few years."

As The Tyee reported yesterday, Representative Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond's report, "Isolated and Invisible," was written in response to a 2010 incident in which a 15-year-old girl with both physical and mental disabilities was found alone, hungry in a trailer with the decomposing body of her mother.

According to an MCFD spokesperson, the ministry has moved immediately to accept all four of the recommendations included in the report.

"We are developing an action plan and will be working closely with the Representative to determine how best to implement her recommendations," said the spokesperson. "We know that from the Representative's report that budget and case workloads alone are not the issue. The issue in this case was how the resources that we already have in place are working together."

Beyond adopting those recommendations, Trevena urged the ministry to decrease the caseload burden of each social worker, while working to ensure that caseworkers take a more active role in helping their clients access additional government services.

"Even those with special needs children who are most capable find it a struggle to navigate the system," Trevena said. "These families are told that they can apply for speech therapy or after-school programs or this or that, but it's a hugely complicated process. We have to provide these families with the guidance and assistance to navigate these systems."

Ben Christopher is completing a practicum at The Tyee.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus