Edmonton

Child advocate criticizes lack of action on recommendations

Child and youth advocate Del Graff said the Alberta government hasn’t implemented or adequately responded to most of his recommendations for improving the child welfare system.

Child and youth advocate Del Graff released his 2013-2014 report this week

Alberta child and youth advocate Del Graff released his 2013-2014 report this week (CBC)

Child and youth advocate Del Graff said the Alberta government hasn’t implemented or adequately responded to most of his recommendations for improving the child welfare system.

“The Ministry’s responses often do not address the recommendations, but rather include a summary of activities that are already underway and do not directly link to the Advocate’s recommendations,” Graff notes in his annual report released this week.

“In most cases, the progress noted relates to the Ministry’s commitment to take action, yet there has actually been minimal action taken on most of the Advocate’s recommendations.”

Graff says in the report there was a lack of provincial “attention and support” of the child intervention systems and ability to share best practices among the different regions in Alberta.

He also says there was no standard practice for how child intervention is handled across the province.

Issues he flagged in the Edmonton region two years ago have not been addressed -- access to counselling services and delays in arranging permanent placements, Graff says.

He suggests the government needs to figure out a way to use his recommendations to improve the system.

“When a child dies, it is important that everyone learns from the tragedy,” his report states.

Wildrose MLA Kerry Towle said the province needs to start listening to the advocate.

“It’s important that this government start to understand that whatever they’re doing in multiple different ministries, especially when it comes to children in care, isn’t working,” she said.

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