Thursday, October 23, 2008

Alberta Children and Youth Services a Mess

The Calgary Herald is calling for the resignation of Janis Tarchuk, Alberta's Minister of Children and Youth Services. Yes, you read that correctly, the Calgary Herald calling for the resignation of an Alberta Tory cabinet minister. I would have to say this is probably the first time this has ever happened. Usually they defend them.

Alberta Children and Youth services has been in a mess for many years. Rachel Notley obtained the departments quarterly reports (for internal use only) through an Access to information request. The fact that she actually got the reports was really astonishing. Someone wasn't paying attention. Usually the way it works in Alberta is the Government asks for a 50 million dollar photocopying fee or some other deterrent. Neither the Liberals or the NDP have a lot of research money to pay for these searches.

The Annual reports for the last 3 years were all tabled on the morning of the recent federal election, October 14, 2008. Apparently there are some major differences between the interal quarterly reports and the sunshiny cheerful external annual reports.

The interim reports paint a picture of a department that is not meeting the needs of children and youth who are in danger from their parents or other unacceptable circumstances.

According to today's Calgary Herald editorial:

Two separate issues are at the fore. One is the shortage of care facilities for children, as revealed by the quarterly internal reports which the NDP obtained. Non-aggressive children were housed with others labelled as sexually acting-out or aggressive. Sexually abused children were returned to parents who questioned whether the abuse was real. Children were placed with caregivers on whom inadequate background checks were done. Children were forced to remain among others who allegedly sexually abused them. Some children were left in situations where all the adults involved knew and agreed that their needs weren't being met.

The Minister replied to the allegations with the usual stuff about how the issues were not presented properly or something like that. The Premier insists the Minister is not going anywhere and that she is a paragon of child loving virtue.

One thing I'm confused about is that if the reports were filed 3 years late, then why does the Minister say that many of the accusations are not substantiated. Do I understand that to mean that it takes three years to figure out if a child is being sexually assaulted or not?

There will be no resignation. Ms. Tarchuk stares into the camera with her dull Sarah Palin expression knowing she is protected from any kind of accountability. Now that I think about it, I really can't ever remember a Alberta Tory cabinet minister being fired for anything. Please recommend this post

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