Remember how we learned, directly from some grand poobahs high up the foodchain, that Christy Clark's Ministry of Children and Family Development does not now (and apparently never did!) allow frontline social workers to spend an extra $50 to specifically buy the most disadvantaged kids in their care a Christmas present?
And do you remember the row and pushback that resulted because we even dared to ask about said 'practice' (not policy!) at Ms. Clark's MCFD (a Ministry she once ran, by the way, back in the days before Railgate blew-up and just after a fine fellow named Mr. Doug Walls did his best to scorch all the earth with a privatized net of fire and 'care').
Who knew that we can't spend an extra 10 or 20 thousand dollars on actual kids, in the here and now, because the MCFD needed to save the cash to help pay for an outsourced computer system that is pure junk.
Pure junk that actually takes up so much social workers' time that they have less time to spend with the kids that they are supposed to be helping.
Oh, and did I mention that the pure junk cost, are you ready for this....
One hundred and eighty-two million dollars.
Lindsay Kines has the story, based on a report from Childrens Representative Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond.
Here is Mr. Kines' lede:
Senior government officials should be held accountable for the “colossal failure” of government’s new computer system for front-line social workers, the province’s child watchdog says.
Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond said a consultant’s report — released Thursday by the province — confirms her warning last year about the dire state of the $182-million integrated case management system.
“We’re in deep trouble,” she said. “This is a deeply serious problem.”
The consultant’s report said previous ministry officials failed to properly monitor the computer system’s development and didn’t push for changes that would have created a system fit for child-care work.
The software was developed during a time of significant change in the ministry and there was inadequate knowledge, resources or leadership to get the right solution in place, the report said.
Turpel-Lafond characterized the findings as “brutal” and said government had a duty to investigate how the mistakes happened and chart a course forward.
“This report speaks to incompetent stewardship of [integrated case management] by government,” she said. “And whether the manufacturers of the product play a role in that, I don’t know, but I think it needs a deeper look.”
The integrated case management system went online last April, linking information on thousands of social assistance and child welfare clients, including sensitive details on child abuse, custody disputes and welfare payments.
Social workers complained that the new system was too complicated and buried critical child safety information under a series of hidden tabs...
Who are the 'manufacturers' of this 'system' that made off with our $182 million that could have been much better spent on children and, you know, actual families?
And how were they chosen?
And do not forget, Ms. Turpel-Lafond was only hired because of the Hughes Report that clearly demonstrated the callousness of Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark's FoolsGoldenCarpetBagger Era when it came to not taking proper care to even begin to properly help troubled families and kids in this province (this after the CampbellClark government had previously eliminated the 'independent' Children's representative position)...
And do not also forget that it was not so long ago that the Campbell/Clark government tried to strip Mr. Turpel-Lafond of her independence after launching a whisper campaign about how she was just too darned....what is that word I'm looking for....Oh, ya, now I remember, it's....'independent'....
Gosh, I sure do like it when apparatchiks put themselves on the 'record'...
As to that $182 million...Of course, we don't know if that is the 'real' cost or the PavCoesque 'pretend' cost...Why?....Well, because, to the best of my knowledge at least it has not yet been, you know 'audited' by that fellow...What's his name again?....Oh, ya.....Doyle...