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Government underfunding of child welfare services is putting children and families at risk say the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.  While this Liberal Government has passed legislation, through Bill 210, that’s focused on the restructuring of child welfare services to promote best practices — they are not funding it.
CUPE local 4325 will rally at the Guelph Children’s Aid Society Annual General Meeting at the Holiday Inn, Scottsdale and Stone Roads on Thursday, June 19 at 5:30 p.m. to ask the Minister to increase funding and to draw attention to the many issues facing child protection workers because
of chronic provincial under funding.

The Ministry is asserting child welfare funding has increased while service volumes have fallen. However, this fails to acknowledge the increased expectations that have been imposed on agencies and front line staff.  While these new policies and protocols are good for children and families, the sector cannot implement them without appropriate prevention and support programs and adequate staffing.

While direct contact time and accountability are both critical, appropriate staffing levels and programs must be in place to support both,” said Heather Roberts, president of CUPE 4325.  “The reality is the amount of direct contact with children and families have decreased due to administrative requirements – this is not good for at risk children and families.”

Programs at many agencies are in danger because of the Ministry’s requirement for all agencies to submit balanced budgets.

In our agency the Ministry is not funding the actual cost of children placed in specialized care, and while recognizing the need for children to have permanent homes, the Ministry does not provide adoption subsidies frequently needed by adoptive families,” Roberts continued.  “We provide a number of non-mandated preventative and support services, including Family Support, an intensive in-home program aimed at strengthening families and keeping children in their homes that are also not funded.”

CUPE is calling on the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to adequately fund the child welfare sector so that the change agenda legislated by this government can be implemented appropriately.