The Ministry of Children and Family Development will get more money if that is what an independent review calls for — money that is tied to the province's economic growth, says B.C. Premier Christy Clark.

"We don't have the resources to fix those problems unless we grow the economy," Clark said in a year-end interview with CBC legislative reporter Richard Zussman.

She said her government is waiting on a review by long-time public servant Bob Plecas, who has been tasked to look into the handling of a child welfare case criticized by B.C.'s Supreme Court.

"I bet he's going to say we need to put more resources into the ministry," she said.

"I'm going to be able to say yes, let's put more resources into the ministry, because British Columbians have worked so hard for four years to stabilize our economy."

When asked if management of the ministry could be more of an issue, Clark said, "Mr. Plecas will give us the specifics on that. I don't want to prejudge what that is. I think it is a little bit of both, I'm never a believer that money solves all problems."

NDP critic responds

Doug Donaldson, the NDP critic for the Ministry of Children and Family Development, said the premier linking economic growth to money for children was "absolutely frightening."

"It suggests that, for example, a teen who needs trauma counselling would have to wait four years for a potential LNG plant to be in place before they can get that counselling," he told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn.

"Children and kids and families deserve better than this."

He said not spending more money on children in need "shows a fundamental ignorance" of what is required to help children in ministry care.

Donaldson said there is an immediate need for more social workers and complex care beds in the province, as well as structural changes that bring together the organizations working with children when injuries or death occur.


To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Children's ministry will get more funding if economy grows, says premier

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story suggested that if the economy did not grow, the province would not give more money to the Ministry of Children and Families. In fact, the premier’s office says the economy has grown this year, and there will be increases in the 2016 budget.
    Dec 11, 2015 1:53 PM PT
With files from Richard Zussman