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Some group home staff in Yukon told not to fill out survey designed to improve group care

Social Services Minister Pauline Frost says some Yukon group home workers were told to not fill out an anonymous survey about how to improve group care because it came from an unidentified email address.

Social services minister says instruction was based on initial concern the survey came from an unknown source

Health and Social Services Minister Pauline Frost answers questions from reporters Tuesday afternoon at the legislative assembly. She said some group care workers were asked not to fill out a survey because it appeared to come from an unknown email address. (Jane Sponagle/CBC)

Some group home workers in Yukon were told by the Yukon government not to fill out a survey designed to improve group care.

But Social Services Minister Pauline Frost says that was because the anonymous survey appeared to come from an unidentified email address.

The survey was part of a systemic review of group care in the territory by the Yukon Child and Youth Advocate Office. Its report "Empty Spaces, Caring Connections: the Experiences of Children and Youth in Yukon Group Care" was tabled in the legislature last week.

The allegation some staff were told to not complete the survey was included in the report.

It says the anonymous survey was sent out to about 200 employees.

"After the survey was sent out, some employees reportedly made inquiries to management and were told they could choose to participate at their own discretion," said the report.

"However, some group care facility staff were initially told 'Do not fill out the group home survey at this time.'"

Staff were later told they could fill out the survey and only 55 responses were received, says the report.

According to the report, 62 per cent of completed surveys were from frontline group home staff.

During question period Monday, Yukon Party Health Critic Patti McLeod wanted to know who told group home staff to not complete the survey. Social Services Minister Pauline Frost seemed to misunderstand the question.

When reporters asked her later in the afternoon where the direction came from, Frost explained it was because the survey was sent from an unidentified email address.

"We're speaking on confidential matters. Clearly staff are not going to respond to an unknown email address," she said.

"The department really did its due diligence and followed back around to verify that it was indeed coming from the child and youth advocate office," said Frost.

Frost says once the email address was verified, staff responded.

CBC has contacted the Child and Youth Advocate Office for comment, but did not hear back by publication deadline.

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