December 12, 2014; New Westminster, B.C. – Inclusion BC is disappointed by the findings of a recent report, Who Cares? B.C. Children with Complex Medical, Psychological and Developmental Needs and their Families Deserve Better released by the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth.
The report details the systemic failure of the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) to respond to the needs of youth with complex needs living in government care. Youth with special needs who were known by the Ministry to have complex needs but in placement after placement were subjected to extended and repeated abuse at the hands of those paid to support them. Inclusion BC has repeatedly called on the MCFD to ensure that children and youth with special needs living in care are safe and receiving the individualized support they need.
Inclusion BC is deeply troubled that little has changed since 2011 when an 11-year old boy was tasered by police outside the group home where he lived. The report outlines this case and other disturbing examples of how children and youth with special needs in care are not being protected by the Ministry that is directly responsible to support and protect them.
“These are not just cases, they are children. These are children with special and complex needs who are suffering because of well documented critical deficiencies in BC’s child and youth care system”, says Faith Bodnar, Executive Director of Inclusion BC. “The fact that any child in need of protection suffers and is abused (at the hands of) or while in the care of a Ministry with a legislated mandate to protect them is unconscionable and unacceptable. Funding and budgets can never be used as an excuse to abdicate responsibility to these children and youth. The support, protection and care of our province’s most vulnerable children and youth must be held to the highest level of accountability and must not be reliant upon Ministerial budgets. ”
Along with the RCY, Inclusion BC has repeatedly brought our concerns to MCFD about children and youth with special needs in foster care. We once again call on the Ministry to address the findings of yet another report on system breakdown without further delay. “Children and youth with special needs living in care aren’t just falling through the cracks. The inaction of the government to address their needs is resulting in serious and in some cases grave, irreparable harm,” says Bodnar. “The human costs are unfathomable. The added costs of inappropriate, barbaric, and inadequate responses are far higher in a crisis.”
Inclusion BC supports the immediate establishment of a Task Force to develop and implement practice standards, training requirements and systemic protocols for children and youth with special needs in care.
Report by the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth – Who Cares? B.C. children with complex medical, psychological and developmental needs and their families deserve better
Inclusion BC Press Release – Foster Care System Failing Youth with Special Needs
Inclusion BC Press Release – Children and Youth with Special Needs Must be Protected from Abuse
Inclusion BC – website