FREDERICTONThe 20 new social workers announced in yesterdays provincial budget are a far cry from the 172 required for childrens services and recommended by the governments own study.
It is high time that Mr. (Percy) Mockler broke his silence on this issue, said Robert Lemoignan, president of CUPE Local 1418, representing 1,168 professionals who work directly with children, families and the community. But we expected much more and are puzzled at how the minister of community and social services arrived at the figure of 20.
CUPE had encouraged the minister to participate with them in resolving the serious problem of children at risk of abuse and neglect. Minister Mockler was involved in the launch of its province-wide Walk for Children to raise public awareness of the need for at least 172 new social workers.
With this small number of new workers, we are unsure what the minister has planned, Lemoignan said. Are these permanent jobs? Will he hire 20 or 30 more next year? What is his vision or plan for the longer term?
The union also wants to know if the $100 million set aside for other services will be used to fund future commitments to provide help to families in need.
We want a solid commitment from the minister, he added. Otherwise we have to ask if this is simply a political move with no real commitment to hiring more social workers in the near future.
Robert Lemoignan, President,
Linda Morin, CUPE National Representative,