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