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With the Campbell Liberal government under increasing attack for the severity of its planned budget cut to the Ministry of Children and Families, community social services workers are joining the public outcry, demanding programs and services remain intact.

“While government appears to be backing down on its original 23 per cent target, there’s no doubt that a range of services supporting vulnerable children and adults are still on the chopping block,” says HEU assistant secretary-business manager Zorica Bosancic.

“I’m encouraging all front-line workers to continue to speak out in every forum possible about the risks these cutbacks pose to the children and families, youth, and adults with disabilities who depend on Ministry programs,” she says.

“It just isn’t acceptable for government to suggest it will reduce its original target by a few percentage points in response to a flurry of bad publicity, and then turn around and cut services that are vital to many of our most vulnerable citizens.”

Last week’s leaked Treasury Board document, detailing cutbacks of more than $220 million, unleashed a storm of public protest about the impact projected cuts would have on children and youth who are at risk and adults with special needs requiring care. Although government has indicated it will reconsider the extent to which it will slash the Ministry’s budget, it left no doubt cuts would still occur.

“Community social services workers know first hand the damage these cuts will do to people’s lives,” says Bosancic. “It’s time for front-line caregivers to publicize their views, whether by calling talk shows and radio feedback lines, writing letters to local papers, or calling local MLAs.”