Minister Cadieux denies youths in 'drug house' because of bed shortage
'I also remember back to my days as a youth.... I don’t think my parents knew everywhere I was either'
B.C.'s Minister of Child and Family Development says she is concerned that children, one of which is in government care, were "effectively living" in a known drug house in Prince George, but maintains the situation was not caused by a shortage of resources.
RCMP had raided the home in November, arrested 15 people and found 10,000 used needles inside.
B.C.'s Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, told CBC News last week that about ten young people, aged 12 to 15 years old, were connected to the house and that there were no beds or facilities in Prince George where they could get help.
But Minister Cadieux disagrees, telling CBC Radio One's Daybreak North host Carolina DeRyk that there are enough resources to house children in ministry care and that putting children with mental health or addictions issues in a secure facility is not ministry policy.
"There are absolutely resources available," she said.
"When a child is in need of care, if they need a placement, one is found. That's how the system works."
'I don't think my parents knew everywhere I was either'
Minister Cadieux acknowledged that a drug house is not suitable place for a child, but suggested it is difficult to know where children are at all times.
"No one, I believe, thinks that a drug house is an appropriate or a safe place for children or youth to be," she said.
"That said, I also remember back to my days as a youth and certainly I don't think my parents knew everywhere I was either."
Minister Cadieux added that children are not put into a detox program unless they and their family give permission.
"It is broadly understood in child and youth mental health and addictions ... the best and most successful treatment is when people buy in and want that treatment."
She suggested the ministry is open to exploring alternative policies for children with mental health or addiction issues, but that a secure care model would be costly and require broad public consultation before implementation.
"We have to broadly consider and broadly and carefully consider whether or not such an approach is warranted."
To listen to the full audio, click the link labelled: Ministry of Children and Family Development responds to youth 'drug house' case.