Social Services Ministry 'out of control', ex-official claims
A former assistant deputy minister in Saskatchewan's ministry of Social Services is lashing out against his former employer, claiming the department is dysfunctional and children are routinely placed in risky environments.
"I can tell you, from a person who had access to every document [and attended] every meeting .... that it is a ministry out of control," Tim Korol told CBC News Thursday.
Korol was a top official in the ministry for just under 12 months before he left in June of 2009. He was originally hired, he said, to provide advice on how to improve the province's child welfare system, especially family interventions and placing children in foster homes.
"The bureaucracy did not appreciate a person from the outside coming in to make change and to force change," Korol said of his relatively brief tenure in the ministry. "The bureaucracy eventually got their way and had me terminated."
Korol is a former Saskatoon police officer where he worked for 16 years. He also worked for the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission for ten years.
Today, Korol says he wants to create an advocacy group to push for changes in the ministry. He said he has not yet decided on a name for the organization, which he said would be made up of people with a keen interest in child welfare.
"The organization is going to use good investigation, documentation, good child psychology, good child welfare, and then ultimately the courts, the power of the courts to force change in our system," Korol said.
He said it may be possible for some child placement issues to be taken to the courts, for judicial review.
Korol claims that when examples arose of civil servants not following proper policy on child welfare cases, the ministry did not follow up.
"What has happened to these people who are breaking policy? Nothing," Korol said. "I can tell you nothing happens to them."
Korol pointed out that Saskatchewan's auditor and the province's Children's Advocate have both produced reports that were highly critical of the Social Services Ministry, but little has changed.
"The emphasis is on apprehension," Korol said of the mind-set of social workers. "And then warehousing the children. It's absolutely wrong. It's out of control."
Not motivated by revenge
Korol, who now lives a rancher's life outside of Saskatoon, said his goal is not to seek revenge for his treatment at the ministry.
He said he has a "moral responsibility" to speak out about the problems he has seen, and try to fix them.
June Draude, the minister responsible for Social Services, told CBC News Thursday that a province-wide review of the child welfare system will be released before Christmas.