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Child, Youth and Family Services
January 28, 2010

Minister Responds to Auditor General Report; Budget 2010 Will Focus on Children

The Honourable Joan Burke, Minister of Child, Youth and Family Services, today welcomed the Auditor General's review of three areas now under the mandate of the new department: Child Care Services; Protective Intervention Program for Children at Risk; and Living Arrangements for Children and Youth.

"As we create a new department dedicated to children, youth and their families, it is essential that we understand and are completely aware of the issues and shortcomings within these program areas," said Minister Burke. "Mr. Noseworthy's findings substantiate research in other recent reports, such as the Clinical Services Review commissioned by our government, and feedback I received during visits with frontline social workers across the province. The report further supports our government's decision to create a department solely focused on the protection and well-being of the children and youth of this province."

With respect to the key issues highlighted by the Auditor General, Minister Burke noted that the ability to monitor and audit program activities will be greatly strengthened under the direct management of a department.

"Children and youth is a key area for our government in its budget considerations for this year," said Minister Burke. "We must make sure that we build on previous investments and that any new resources and investments are aligned and utilized to their greatest potential. We have the opportunity now to review all our existing programs and services and to focus on addressing the gaps and shortcomings."

The department is also in the process of redesigning the organizational structure to ensure that frontline staff and managers have the tools and supports required to effectively provide services to vulnerable children and youth. The current computerized case management and data collection system (CRMS) has been reviewed and the new department will be implementing an updated, more user-friendly and effective system over the next three years.

A key priority of the new department is to research and develop innovative solutions to address the shortage of foster homes. The long-term goal is to create a full continuum of appropriate placement options.

"The new Department of Child, Youth and Family Services is mandated to build a revitalized child protection system that operates within a culture of accountability and excellence," said Minister Burke. "We are focused on getting back to the basics of solid case management and service delivery. This is the start of a transformation from the ground up."

The Provincial Government has already made significant investments in the area of Child, Youth and Family Services. There have been 223 new positions added to the CYFS system since 2005 with a total of $24 million in new investments in the areas of training, human resources, technology, quality improvement, as well as policy and program development.

The official transition of programs, employees and services from under the Regional Health Authorities to the direct management of the new provincial department is expected to commence in the new fiscal year.

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Media contact:

Susanne Hiller
Director of Communications
Department of Child, Youth and Family Services
709-729-5148, 697-3760

2010 01 28                                                    3:20 p.m.

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