Friday, December 12, 2008

The Hughes Report Revisted....

....Glaciers Are Not Enough


And if the fact that the government of Gordon Campbell has not made significant progress on any of Mr. Hughes' core recommendations leads to even one tragic outcome for even a single of British Columbia's most vulnerable children, it will be entirely his fault.

Mr Campbell's I mean.


Because when "The Hughes Report", which was a scathing indictment of Mr. Campbell's previous attempts to privatize/centralize British Columbia's Ministry of Family and Children and everything associated with it (remember Doug Walls?........remember the more than 700 child deaths that were never investigated?), came out almost three years ago, a suddenly seemingly contrite Mr. Campbell promised to implement ALL of it's recommendations.

And so far he and his government have not implemented a single one.

Not one.

How do we know this?

Well, it is because British Columbia's independent children's advocate (ie. the person now in the position that Mr. Campbell visciously and senselessly axed pre-Hughes Report), Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, just told us so:

VICTORIA, B.C. — B.C.'s children's watchdog accused the provincial government of spending more time working on plans to protect vulnerable children than actually implementing programs to protect them.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond said Thursday the government is moving too slowly when it comes to fulfilling its promise to implement 62 recommendations from an April 2006 report that called for stability in British Columbia's child welfare system.

"Thirty-two months after (the) report, the pace is, frankly, glacial," she said at a press conference. "It's the difference between planning and doing. There's a deficit in the doing."

The above is from an un-bylined, Canadian Press wire service report.

And where, you might be wondering, is the rest of Lotusland's proMedia and puffilisimousPunditry on this story?


Where are heck are they?


The silence, as they say, is deafening.

For the record, The Hughes Report in full is here (pdf) and it's core recommendations are here (pdf).
And, just in case you were wondering.....No, the Ledgie Boys and the Watercarrier did not discuss this issue this morning....
And here is the name of a hero that everyone in BC who cares about vulnerable kids in this province should remember - Kathleen Stephany . Ms. Stephany was a true public servant who was thrown under the bus by a somewhat less true/truthier one, Mr. John Les.
And yes, I am expecting the OIC-assisted (frequent BCSC visitors, I'm looking at you) smear machine to crank-up any minute now against Ms. Turpel-Lafond. After all, it's not like they and the red meat faction of Mr. Campbell's caucus have not done so before (remember when she was attacked for having the gall to actually ask for the money required to actually do her job).
For anyone not familiar with Mr. Turpel-Lafond's story, here is a link to Rob McMahon's very good backgrounder/bio that was published in the G.Straight when she was first hired. Clearly, Ms. Turpel-Lafond is made up of much sterner stuff than many of the other very fine folks put in place to provide wet blanket-cover for Mr. Campbell's more ideologically-driven propagammon efforts (see here, if you would like to examine a relevant comparison.
And for those who wish to keep up with this story now and in the future, particularly if the herd really does refuse to follow, I suggest (as ever) that you check in regularly at Mr. Holman's place.

Below is the entire text of Mr. Turpel-Lafond's press release direct from The Representative For Children and Youth's website (just in case it was to, I dunno, get lost in a warehouse or something given that it is currently provided only as a pdf link*). The full report is here (pdf also).

VICTORIA – The need for intensified government commitment to completing all of the Hughes recommendations is even more essential in challenging economic times, B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth said today.

“We know that the blueprint provided by the Hughes Review recommendations will improve the lives of our most vulnerable children,” said Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. “In the tough economic times we are entering, the challenges facing struggling families will increase and their fortunes can abruptly change. The bottom line for all of our concerted efforts must be protecting children."

Turpel-Lafond called for more collaboration between government, child-serving agencies and the business community to increase the focus on strengthening supports for children, to ensure that if the economy worsens children will not suffer even more. Her office will also put an enhanced priority on seeking out collaboration, she said.

Continued commitment to completion of the Hughes recommendations is one of the many ways government can improve the social safety net for vulnerable families in uncertain times, she said in releasing her 2008 Progress Report on Implementation of the Hughes Review Recommendations.
This report evaluated 15 recommendations which were assessed in the 2007 Progress Report as not completed.

These 15 recommendations were chosen for evaluation in the 2008 report because the Representative believes them to be at the very core of the essential government work still required to be done. Completion of these specific recommendations would significantly improve and enhance the effectiveness of the Ministry of Children and Family Development in serving B.C.’s vulnerable children and youth.

Of the recommendations examined in the Representative’s 2008 report, none are assessed as complete or fully operational, although one is substantially completed. There is no progress on two of the recommendations, while the others are all in the planning or implementation stage.

“It is concerning to me that the two recommendations that have little or no progress are among the most important in the Hughes Review,” Turpel-Lafond said. They are essential for ensuring basic accountability and ultimately, value-for-money.

Turpel-Lafond’s report also highlights positive progress made in 2008 by the B.C. government on a number of child-focused initiatives. These included endorsement of Jordan’s Principle to ensure a child-first approach in resolving jurisdictional disputes, and new legislation to create a College of Social Workers to enhance professionalism in the field.

Building on these positives with a new level of collaboration is essential because of a heightened level of need the economic downturn will bring.

“We need everyone involved in the child-serving system to set a higher priority on examining performance measures,” Turpel-Lafond said. “The system’s capacity to serve vulnerable children in a time of economic uncertainty will be severely tested. Ensuring that every initiative and every dollar is making a genuine difference in the lives of B.C. children is at the heart of Mr. Hughes’ recommendations. We need to know what is working, and what isn’t.”

The Representative for Children and Youth is an independent Officer of the Legislature, who champions the fundamental rights of vulnerable children and youth, and promotes improvements in the delivery of services to children, youth and their families. The Representative has offices in Victoria, Burnaby, and Prince George.

* the fuss is that pdf links can very easily slip through the cracks of the google cache if something is pulled down later.


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