Draude responds to criticism of child welfare system
Social Services Minister June Draude says province is working on ways to improve its system
Saskatchewan's Minister of Social Services says the province is working on ways to improve its system.
Parents have come forward with concerns after it was reported 484 children died while in contact with the ministry over the past 20 years.
A woman named Patricia, whose surname CBC has agreed to withhold to protect the identity of her daughter, said she has concerns about the way the province follows up with children in its care. She adopted her daughter at six years old and was told she had asthma and some food allergies.
An allergist told them shortly afterwards that her allergy information was not correct.
"He also did some tests regarding her lung capacity with respect to her asthma and we found out that she was really, really sick," Patricia said. "She had really little lung capacity because her asthma hadn't been treated, and he almost didn't send her home with us because she was so sick and having a hard time breathing."
Patricia said some contact with social workers was just a case of paper and information being passed along to other people. While she's worked with really good social workers, Patricia believes their caseload is so heavy that they're not able to do the work properly.
Ministry always trying to improve its practices
She said it's always heartbreaking for staff when a child dies or becomes ill while in care, and the ministry is always trying to improve its practices.
"I've never met a mom that truly wanted to hurt her baby," Draude said. "We have to realize that when a child comes into care, there's some reasons beyond what you and I see and what the general public sees that that mother, that family isn't able to support their child."
Draude said the ministry is already making changes.
"After some of the things that happened in the last couple of years, we do know that talking to each other, the family, the extended family, and other workers is our goal," she said. "It does not work to take children out of their home if they're better off with their family."
Draude explained the ministry is always working toward finding new solutions, including collaborating with child safety counterparts in Alberta and British Columbia.