This morning, the Child and Youth Advocate released their annual report outlining how in just four years, our province has lost one in every five foster families and that the Sask. Party has not only stalled in its commitment to child welfare, but is actually starting to move away from it.
“The government’s continued lack of action leaves us wondering what it will take for the government to pay attention to this issue,” said Nicole Rancourt, NDP critic for Social Services. “How many more children have to be injured or killed? How many children need to live on the streets or in sub-standard living conditions? How many families have to keep struggling?”
Advocate Bob Pringle highlighted that things continue to get worse for children and youth under the current Social Services Minister, Donna Harpauer. The Advocate specifies, “the current policy and practice cannot guarantee the safety and appropriateness of the care children and youth are receiving.” These declines are associated with cost-cutting in the ministry and Rancourt has concerns that more and more children won’t be given the opportunity for a brighter future.
Currently, less than half of calls to the Ministry of Social Services are responded to, and unless things are a crisis level there are no supports for children and families. Even when in crisis, the advocate highlights that there are a lack of services for children with mental health issues, for children living with FASD, for foster families, and for children just trying to survive.
“The status quo simply isn’t good enough when the safety and well-being of our kids are at stake,” Rancourt said. “It’s long past time for this government to show some leadership and ensure the right supports are in place.”
“The government's refusal to support our most vulnerable has a cost; not only for these kids but also for our whole province.”