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WINNIPEG CUPEs 420 members in Local 2153, who are front line support workers within WCFS, welcome the Childrens Advocate Report on the Operation of the Winnipeg Child and Family Services, Emergency Assessment Placement Department Shelter System.

The background information and analysis of this report provides an honest and comprehensive blueprint of how services are currently being provided to children and families in crisis. The recommendations of the report will hopefully lead to major corrective measures that the system needs.

There are a couple of areas in the Advocates Report that the Union feels are weak. Much more attention has to be paid to helping more families take on fostering roles. The essential role of intake management and its improvement is also critically important but under valued. While labour relations are noted in the report, there is little recommended on how to improve the relationship between management and the unions.

We were pleased that the authors of the Report found the information contained in our 2003 Report, Investigation into the Shelter and In-Home Support Systems of the WCFS Agency useful. We have attached a copy of that report.

We are concerned however, by the Province of Manitobas Family Services & Housing Response and Action Plan to the Office of the Childrens Advocates Report.

While the Government should be complimented for responding so quickly, the response is largely defensive and focused on a selective reading of the Advocates Report.

The Response and Action Plan picks out a handful of the issues exposed by the Advocate and ignores many others. For example, the Advocate says very clearly that the use of purchased-services is unacceptable, but the Government says nothing. The Advocate says that a coordinated Provincial Placement Desk should be created but the Government does not respond.

The Union remains committed to helping in any way possible to improve services for children needing care.

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The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canadas largest union representing more than a half-million women and men. In Manitoba, CUPE represents 24,000 members working in health care, school divisions, municipal services, social services, childcare centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services.

For information, contact:
Bob Campbell, President, CUPE Local 2153
cell: 981-5748
Dennis Lewycky, CUPE Communications
942-0343, ext. 207 / cell: 223-6805