As someone who needed foster care as a child, Danny Phalen understands the importance of protecting vulnerable children.
Phalen was a youth representative on the advisory committee reviewing the province’s Child Protection Act, which is required by regulation to be reviewed every five years. Today the committee released its report, which reflects valuable input from Islanders on how we can strengthen our shared responsibility to safeguard children from parental harm.
“Having been in foster care, I know how important it is for children to have their rights protected, their voices heard and to be supported into adulthood,” said 20-year-old Phalen. “I was really happy to be part of the advisory committee and very glad that we were able to get input from children in care during the process.”
The advisory committee consulted with more than 350 Islanders – including youth, families, professionals, and communities – about how we can enhance services for children and families.
“The report tells us that protecting children is everyone’s responsibility and that an integrated approach involving parents, children, families and all partners is critical,” said Family and Human Services Minister Tina Mundy. “Government is committed to moving forward with the recommendations to improve accountability and further enhance front-line service delivery.”
Based on the report’s recommendations, government’s six priority areas are:
1. strengthen the voices of children;
2. increase supports for grandparents as primary caregivers;
3. improve data collection, analysis and reporting processes related to outcomes for children;
4. address legislative changes required to better protect the best interest of the child;
5. implement an evidence-based decision making model to support the delivery of consistent and thorough child protection services; and
6. develop a social policy framework for better accountability and integrated collaboration.
Recent enhancements by government include implementation of the Bridge Model, which focuses on working collectively to assess situations to support families and those at high-risk of harm.
Investments have also been made in various programs aimed at improving the lives of children such as:
• Triple P;
• Period of Purple Crying;
• Strongest Families; and
• Visiting Place, which is a Supervised Access and Exchange program.
Government is in the process of hiring a children’s lawyer to ensure the voices of children are heard in court matters that impact on them and to protect their rights during custody and access disputes.
“The Advisory Committee is grateful to all Islanders who took the time to provide input during the consultation process,” said Advisory Committee Chair Patsy MacLean. “Their contribution was critical to informing the themes and recommendations arising from the review. I also thank the committee members for devoting countless hours to the consultation and report writing phases of the review.”
For more information visit, Child Protection Act Committee Review.